My HUGE TIP for decision paralysis: If it's that hard to decide, it doesn't really matter.

Discuss the November 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes.

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Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
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My HUGE TIP for decision paralysis: If it's that hard to decide, it doesn't really matter.

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

If you haven't already, you can sign up to be personally mentored by Scott "Eckhart Aurelius" Hughes at this link.


There is something that makes me incredibly powerful when it comes to business but also in terms of self-discipline in general that would serve me greatly even if I was the only human on Earth or living alone on a desert island. That thing is this nearly paradoxical quality of both (1) being very easy going, practicing acceptance, and being eagerly willing to delegate and let chips fall where they fall, AND (2) being decisive and providing leadership when it's called for, or (as often happens) explicitly asked for. This two things seem like opposites, but they actually go hand-in-hand and represent two aspects of the same one thing, and you will understand that if you accept the huge tip I'll give you below.

People value someone who can do #2 precisely because so many struggle with it. Many people experience what I like to call DECISION PARALYSIS. They are like the proverbial donkey who cannot decide between two symmetrical piles of hay and thus starves to death. This is why the donkey will love you if you and #2 because you can tell him which pile of hay to eat and thereby save his life. I say this with love and a friendly smile: Most people are like that donkey.

Do you get divorced or continue spending money on couple's counseling? Do you take that new job offer or stick with the tried and true career you have? Do you sell your house or refinance your mortgage and commit to staying? What restaurant do you want to eat at tonight? Do you want pizza or burgers?

Here is one example of many that illustrate why money doesn't buy happiness and why most people (i.e. unhappy people) chase money and happiness away, and it's quite ironic: It's the people with the most food stocked up at home, or the most money to spend at numerous nearby restaurants, who tend to waste the most time and energy on questions like, "What are we going to eat tonight?" They waste whatever time, money, and energy they get on self-frustrating things like decision paralysis and then later complain that they are unhappy or frustrated because they don't have enough time, money, or energy. They'd have it if they didn't waste it. And having more of it will just actually make them more miserable and frustrated and resentful and anxious and paralyzed and spiritually caged and unfree. For unhappy people (i.e. those lacking inner peace, the adage "more money more problems" applies, and it applies not only to money buy also to time, energy, and power.

Here is my HUGE TIP for overcoming decision paralysis:

If it's that hard to decide, it doesn't really matter.

Do you want four quarters or ten dimes?

If the value of the two options is that close, that you cannot even tell which one slightly out values the other, then it doesn't really matter.

That's why some people literally will just flip a coin in such a situation. But you don't need an actual coin because you can just flip a proverbial mental coin. Just choose something and stick with it. Don't spend your valuable limited time, money, and mental energy and things that don't really matter. Most decisions don't matter, and it's precisely the fact that most people think they do that causes those people so much misery and frustration. I can be so decisive because I don't really care. A or B? I don't really care. I'm happy to delegate to you to choose because I don't care, but I can also quickly and decisively flip a mental coin in my head and choose without wasting any mental energy because I don't care. I'm saving my mental energy for things that matter, and those are usually strategies rather than decisions. I use my mental energy on the how, not the what. For most people (namely due to decision paralysis), hows are a lot easier than whats, but more importantly--for all of us--energy spent on hows tends to be much more productive than energy wasted on deciding between two or more roughly equal whats.

In that kind of situation, as long as you choose quick, stick with it, and move on, then you have basically nothing to lose because the two options were so roughly equal.

But every bit of time or energy you waste on the DECISION PARALYSIS is wasted, and you have practically infinite potential losses there.

In that scenario, all that really matters is how well you avoid DECISION PARALYSIS and how quickly you overcome it if you fall into it.

There is a reason in my book, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All, I included the quote from my favorite artist Vincent Van Gogh in which he wrote about he called "the paralyzing stare of a blank canvas".

Here is what Van Gogh said to do in such a situation: "Just slap something on it when you see a blank canvas staring at you."

That is the nature of spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline): When any answer is right, the only wrong answer is no answer.


Here is my HUGE TIP for overcoming decision paralysis: If it's that hard to decide, it doesn't really matter.
Here is my HUGE TIP for overcoming decision paralysis: If it's that hard to decide, it doesn't really matter.


---
In addition to having authored his book, In It Together, Eckhart Aurelius Hughes (a.k.a. Scott) runs a mentoring program, with a free option, that guarantees success. Success is guaranteed for anyone who follows the program.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
Kajori Sheryl Paul
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Re: My HUGE TIP for decision paralysis: If it's that hard to decide, it doesn't really matter.

Post by Kajori Sheryl Paul »

"It is so true that "When any answer is right, the only wrong answer is no answer."
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Sushan
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Re: My HUGE TIP for decision paralysis: If it's that hard to decide, it doesn't really matter.

Post by Sushan »

The concept of striking a balance between being easygoing and decisive resonates deeply with me. It's an art to know when to let go and when to take charge, and your post captures that beautifully. I particularly appreciate the idea that decisiveness is valued because it's rare; it's a commodity in a world plagued by indecision. This rings true in my experience, where being the one who can make a choice when no one else can has often put me in a position of leadership and respect.

I also love the pragmatic approach of conserving mental energy for the decisions that truly matter. In a world where we're bombarded with choices, understanding that most decisions are not life-altering is incredibly freeing. It’s an approach that I find not only practical but also mentally soothing. The notion that 'the only wrong answer is no answer' is a powerful reminder that inaction can be costlier than action. Your post does a fantastic job of articulating a philosophy that I find both inspiring and personally affirming.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
Shirley Labzentis
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Re: My HUGE TIP for decision paralysis: If it's that hard to decide, it doesn't really matter.

Post by Shirley Labzentis »

I do not think that I have ever had decision paralysis, but I do know a few people who cannot seem to decide on anything. You are right. It is a waste of energy and time.
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Nisha DSouza
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Re: My HUGE TIP for decision paralysis: If it's that hard to decide, it doesn't really matter.

Post by Nisha DSouza »

"If it's that hard to decide, it doesn't really matter." It's a unique tip and makes so much sense. Why waste precious time and energy on that decision when the difference is minuscule?
Mindful Wordsmith
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Re: My HUGE TIP for decision paralysis: If it's that hard to decide, it doesn't really matter.

Post by Mindful Wordsmith »

I think it's great to save and use our mental energy on strategies rather than decisions, or in other words, on the how and not on the what.
Thanks for this invaluable advice.
Macreen Ouko
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Re: My HUGE TIP for decision paralysis: If it's that hard to decide, it doesn't really matter.

Post by Macreen Ouko »

When faced with decision paralysis, consider that if the options are causing significant difficulty in choosing, the potential outcomes might be similar or have minimal impact on the overall situation. By recognizing that certain choices may not have a substantial difference in outcome, you can ease the pressure on yourself and make a decision with more confidence. This mindset allows you to prioritize and allocate energy to decisions that truly matter.
Pranav Dewangan
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Re: My HUGE TIP for decision paralysis: If it's that hard to decide, it doesn't really matter.

Post by Pranav Dewangan »

Decision paralysis can waste our valuable time. But some choices are so important in life that we are stuck. In those key important decisions we make in life, it's not possible to just choose any option. But in other cases, if any choice is the right choice then the choice is not important. That I fully agree. We must be able to decide which decisions are worth our time.
Kenechukwu Okoye
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Re: My HUGE TIP for decision paralysis: If it's that hard to decide, it doesn't really matter.

Post by Kenechukwu Okoye »

Letting the happens just the way it happens and being able to make decisions and decide how things should go, ofcourse seem contrasting but looking from another perspective, making decisions isn't what one should always do, that will make life a bit uninteresting and seem so predictable, also, letting things happen as they want would be like losing absolute control of your life, which would not be desirable. So, let's take a mixture of the unpredictability of life and the decisiveness of ourselves.
Ruth Siriba
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Re: My HUGE TIP for decision paralysis: If it's that hard to decide, it doesn't really matter.

Post by Ruth Siriba »

Decision paralysis often occurs when faced with numerous choices, and the fear of making the wrong decision can be overwhelming. By recognizing that not every decision holds equal weight, you can ease the burden of choice. This approach encourages a more streamlined decision-making process, allowing you to focus your time and energy on decisions that truly matter. It promotes a mindset of prioritizing and reserving mental resources for more consequential situations, ultimately contributing to a more efficient and less stressful decision-making experience.
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