Make Up Your Mind

We can live life by choice, or by chance.

one-armed bandit in a casino with four rolling drums of images, in a sea of bright flashing neon casino lights

We know when we’ve collected enough information and must make a decision, even though each choice has an element of risk and uncertainty.

 

When we live life by choice, we keep an open mind to new ideas and information. We do our research, seek the opinions of others, and consider many options. At some point, however, we quit gathering information. We make a decision, knowing that we have done the best we can with the information we have in the time we have.

When we live life by chance, we fall into the trap of believing there’s no such thing as too much information. We tell ourselves we need to know more. We suffer analysis paralysis. The reality is, we’re afraid we won’t make the right decision.

Living life by choice is not about always making the right decision. Sometimes, any one of several options is likely to get us what we want. Sometimes, it is impossible to know until some distant point in the future whether the decision we made will turn out to be the right one.  The reality is that we can never know with absolute certainty whether we have made the best decision because we can never know what would have happened if we’d made a different decision.

Living life by chance means that we have decided that Chance knows more about what’s right for our business or our life than we do. There’s a lot of benefit to trusting our future to Chance. After all, by not making a decision, we can claim we are not responsible for what happens to us. We can pretend we do not own the outcome. Except of course, we experience the outcome, whether we acknowledge our role in it or not.

The next time you feel unable to make up your mind, consider this: do I know more about what is the right decision for me than Chance? If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that Chance is a terrible decision-maker. When we own our decisions, we have a stake in the outcome. We feel in charge of ourselves, we have more confidence. 

Life Is Honest, Open and True: The next time you’re tempted to continue studying the issue, even though it’s time to make a decision, consider whether any choice you make is guaranteed to give you an outcome worse than not making a choice at all. Then consider whether you’d rather be in charge of what happens, or let Chance be in charge.

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