You can give up struggling with decisions for good. No really…
I mean, what is a decision?
As far as I can tell, it’s working out which idea to choose from a selection of options. This could be something as simple as which pizza to choose from the menu, or as complicated as whether to leave your spouse. And let’s be honest, people struggle with both types!
So, if it’s not the seriousness that makes decisions hard work… what is it?
Let me set the scene. You’re trying to make a decision and it goes a bit like this:
A board meeting kicks off in your head. Around the table, voices shout over each other to be heard…
“Go for the pepperoni!”
“No —you’ll be thirsty all night, have a chicken feast!”
“Don’t listen to them; you can have either of those from Tesco. Get the super-loaded-mega-meat-feast-topped-with-fried-mars bar!”
“For crying out loud… what are you doing? You don’t even like pizza. And it’s been years since you had a kebab. ”
“Have you seen how much these pizzas cost? £16!!! You could feed the whole family for a week!”
“Leave her. She doesn’t love you anyway. If she did she’d show you.”
“You can’t leave her. What will your family say?”
“You’ve got to go. You’re wasting your life.”
“Nobody else will ever want you, not with your baggage.”
“Ah, you can stay, I mean you’re best friends, it’s not so bad to live with your best friend for the rest of your life.”
And on… and on… and on…
So, you roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. Listening to the ideas and weighing them up. Listing the pros and the cons. You’re basically chairing the meeting and trying to work out which idea is the right one. But it’s so hard to choose and the meeting gets louder and louder.
So how do you stop the meeting?
You don’t. You turn your back on it and look out of the boardroom window.
You see, there is no right idea to choose! Ideas are thoughts and thoughts are completely random. They come from nowhere and get stuck in our heads. Thoughts don’t have any meaning unless we give it to them. So there are no right thoughts or wrong thoughts. No true thoughts or false thoughts. They just come and go, and wander off way quicker if you stop trying to be the referee. Try it — you’ll see.
The window is the really clever bit though…
All well and good, but what the hell do you do about the choice?
The thing is, somewhere deep down, you already know the answer. You already know which pizza you want, whether you want to leave your spouse or whether you should take that new job. The noise of the board meeting in your head is the only thing stopping you from hearing that knowing.
The board meeting puts doubts and fear into your mind — leading you away from what you already know. So when you turn your back on the meeting and look out of the window, the noise gets quieter and you can see / hear all sorts of stuff that you couldn’t while you were in the middle of the battle of ideas. In that space, it all becomes clear and there’s literally nothing to work out. Magic!
And if you need any more reasons to give up decisions for good…
I’ll ask you a question. Have you ever made a decision that never changed… even if it changed back again? I don’t think I have. It’s human nature to have these changes of heart. Our thoughts are how we experience the world, and they change all the time. You have between 60,000 and 90,000 per day! All we’re ever doing is making choices in the moment with what we know in that moment. That will change and that’s OK.
You can ‘work things out’ from the selection of ideas in the agonising board meeting if you want. Or you can leave them to get on with it, find a bit of inner peace and quiet and let a very simple, comfy knowledge settle in which feels just right. I know what I’d rather do.
Chances are you’ve got a big, fat question mark in your head about something at the moment (and if you haven’t, just head to the take-away ).
So, give this a shot. Turn away from the battle of ideas. Stop trying to work out which one is ‘right’. You don’t need to do anything about the noise. Let the rabble craic on. Just take a breather and listen beyond it and around it for what you already know rather than the chaos of what you think.
When you get there, you’ll feel it — comfy and doubt-free. There… now isn’t that better?