Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Choices Determine Who You Are

Whenever I ask my five-year-old daughter to make a decision, whether it’s about an outfit for school or which food she wants to eat for breakfast, it seems to take her a long time to make up her mind. The other night, I gave her permission to watch a short video before bed. By the time she finally chose a movie, her bed time came and went. It is, however, normal for preschoolers to over-think many of their day to day decisions. After all, we, the parents, make most of their decisions for them. But learning to make their own choices fosters a healthy independence and is a skill children will need as they grow older.

So, what about all those adults who are indecisive? Did their parents make all their decisions for them beyond the preschool years? Are they less independent members of society? We are conditioned within our society to analyze our options and properly gather research before embarking on a new decision. Life is full of decisions as we are faced with a series of choices we must make every day. We have to evaluate, decide, and draw conclusions all the time. The quality of our life is determined by the kind of decisions we make. Many of our decisions turn out to be the right one but some of our decisions are ultimately regrettable. Thus, decisions can dictate the type of person one becomes. This may explain why many people have a hard time making a decision. We are humans and have great potential for error. Such a notion can be quite daunting.

What can we do to speed up and feel more comfortable with our decision making process?

First, understanding that being indecisive about the smaller things in life wastes a tremendous amount of time. Being indecisive can also cause you to miss out on a lot of good opportunities. I am not suggesting making rash decisions, but recognizing that smaller choices such as which shoes to buy, or what to server for dinner, are not going to impact our lives tremendously.

It is always helpful to bounce ideas off friends, family and co-workers. But remember, they can also influence us with their subconscious bias. So, while it is great to gather ideas from them, ultimately you know yourself best. Once you realize this, decision-making becomes easier.

Finally, practicing being decisive regarding little choices can actually help when it comes to the bigger more impacting decisions. Next time you are about to make a small purchase force yourself to make the decision in ten minutes or less. This will get you used to the feeling of making a decision and then moving on.

Really, what’s the worst case scenario if we make a poor choice, we will have an opportunity to make another one before we know it!

By P’nina Seplowitz

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