So I was reading Oprah Magazine, which I love and found some great excerpts from an article about Decisions by Martha Beck.
Martha writes about Claire and her intention to have the perfect man, home, and career and said “I can’t commit to the wrong thing!” Martha then shares that Claire’s life was devoted to obsessively avoiding something economists call ‘opportunity cost’. Whenever we choose one course of action, we rule others out. Giving up those other options is the opportunity cost of any decision. Claire couldn’t bear the thought of losing any opportunity by making a clear choice. She was an opportunity miser.
Just as money misers hoard their wealth, living as if they were poor even when they’re rich, opportunity misers hoard their freedom to choose — and end up becoming prisoners of indecision.
I see this happen so often when people are evaluating getting started with us. Thankfully not as often as people who see what there is to offer and just get started. But it does come up. And if you look deeper into that person’s life, it shows up all over.
Some people are so afraid to make this truly simple decision that they miss out on something great. “What if?”, they say. “What if it doesn’t work out?” And I say, “What if?” “What if it’s the absolute greatest decision for your life?”
Andy Andrews said “We don’t always have the ability to make right decisions, but we do have the ability to make our decisions right.” So just do it. If you see the opportunity and it all looks good – move. It’s tortuous otherwise. You can start and always quit if that’s what you decide, but at least you’ll know and won’t always wonder “What if?
Another great passage from Martha Beck’s article: People who trust their gut over their brain often take flying leaps with little information — risky, but at least they get somewhere. Folks with no faith in either their intellect or their instincts generally follow the path of least resistance; again, not an optimal strategy, but not paralyzing, either. Great strategists trust both intellect and instinct; they gather information until they feel they can make a good decision. But people who try to decide with the mind alone, who place no faith in their heart’s desires, are doomed to stall and fuss, compare and contrast, forever insisting that just a little more knowledge will make the choice clear. It won’t.
I’ve heard this called the “Paralysis of Analysis”.
Eventually, people who practice this talk themselves out of even the best situations. What you have to ask yourself is, “are the people who are offering this to me having success and do I trust them?” If so, move…. take action.
More from Martha: Check in with yourself: Does your life feel meaningful and on-purpose at this moment? If the answer is yes, your energy is invested in living your best life. But to the extent that you feel misery, your energy is asking to be reinvested. Misery literally means “the feeling of being a miser.” If you’re miserable, stop harding your life energy. Spend it now! Make a choice, any choice. If you’re still miserable, you can choose again. Eventually, you’ll see that all misery is simply life asking you to trade your current course of action–or inaction–for something purposeful and true.
From Faust, “Seize this very minute. What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” This doesn’t mean you’ll never misstep. It means that when you trade indecision for choice, you’ll be rewarded with either success or education. Guaranteed.
You have the opportunity to discover that for yourself. Feed your mind, but feel your heart. Trust in your truth. It will be the best investment you ever make.
Melissa, great post! Thanks for sharing….taking action now!!!
You and Kevin always have great insights. I never miss an opportunity to listen to or read what your have to say. I run in to many people that just can’t seem to make a decision, no matter how much information they have.
GREAT post, and so true…the answers we seek are always inside of us, if we would just take the time to listen and trust our gut as we evaluate with our mind. Love the layout and look of your blog as well, thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Lara! Interestingly, I shared a blog specifically about having the answers inside: http://KevinAndMelissa.com/kevinknecht/you-have-all-the-answers-within-you/ 🙂
Outstanding post on how to make powerful decisions. Paralysis by analysis is a big one for many wanting to get involved with our profession and unfortunately keeps them stuck. So agree that it’s best to take risks as long as you’ve gathered information and are trusting your gut because any action is better than none or better than being miserable. So happy we made the decision to step out in faith and go for our dreams of being entrepreneurs. Yes, there have been many lessons along the way,but wouldn’t trade it for anything! Just DO IT! 😉 Thank you for sharing such value to help others! You guys are awesome and we appreciate your leadership!
Incredible, incredible post my friend! Thanks for sharing your wisdom & beautiful insight. xoxo