How to Make Powerful Decisions

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”. 

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.