I admire decisive people. One of the surest ways to make myself insane is by wringing my hands over opportunity cost. That passage from The Bell Jar haunts:
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
But there’s good advice in this month’s Martha Beck column ( July 2012, O Magazine), “Get Unstuck: How to Make the Right Decision Every Time.” My favorite bits:
When you trade indecision for choice, you’ll be rewarded with either success or education.
“Indecision brings its own delays, and days are lost lamenting over lost days.” -Goethe
The body truth goes ahead of the mind lie.
That last part is especially true for me. My body has very strong, sometimes visible reactions when I’m making a choice that goes against my gut. That used to embarrass me, but now I feel lucky to have such a strong internal compass.
What about you, do you guys ever have trouble making decisions? How do you make important choices versus little ones?