As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like making decisions. But of course, as an adult, I am unable to avoid them. As such, I’ve come up with a few ways of dealing with things. But those same methods, if taken to far, can loop back around and make the decision even harder.
A big part of the problem is that I’m not a big fan of change. I know, I know, only constant thing and all. But there it is. In fact, my first reaction when faced with change is to but on the metaphorical brakes and try to avoid it. If it can’t be avoided, I try to play for time so that I can perform “adequate research.”
How do I get around this? Well, it’s possible, with enough lead time. I find that if I can slowly sidle up to an idea or decision, deliberately not making confrontational eye-contact, I can get used to the idea without it being too scary. Basically, I treat my decisions and choices like an 800 pound silverback gorilla. During mating season.
One of the main ways I do this is to start researching. I find as much information as possible, from as many sources as possible. I guess the thought being that research is safe, keeping things in the realm of theory.
Case in point: as I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a smartphone recently, I started looking at various models and options. As a relatively techy person, this seemed like a good way to generate excitement and emotional buy-in (in other words, to distract me from the decision itself). As I did so, I started coming up with ideas and usage scenarios, convincing myself that getting one was a good idea. So far, so good.
But this roundabout process can also get away from me. It’s a good idea to have time to do research and brainstorm, but there is such a thing as having too much time. If I start the process too early in relation to the actual decision point, I move past coming up with reasons why I need something, and into coming up with reasons I don’t need it. Basically, I psych myself out.
I’m not sure why, although it probably has a lot to do with a subconscious desire to not have to make a decision (and yes, deciding not to decide is still a decision, but it doesn’t upset the status quo. Also, shut up). I start to try and differentiate between “want” and “need,” which brings us back to Wednesday’s post. After all, it’s easier to put off a decision if it’s for something that’s not “needed,” even more so for the seemingly superfluous “wants.” Once I loop back around to indecision the process has to start all over again.
Research, brainstorming, convincing, over-thinking. The trick is to arrest the process in between the third and fourth steps. That’s really the best time, for me, to make a decision. Of course then you risk replacing the last step with “Buyer’s remorse;” I haven’t figured a way fully around that on yet, but I think it’s a matter of selective denial and self delusion.
Oh well. Work with what you’ve got, I guess.