So how can we get out of a trap called “indecision” when we are in a “fork of choice” situation?
Let’s imagine that you are playing a role-playing computer game, where in your power is a certain character of the game world. In any game you need to make many decisions. What kind of character will you play? What mission do you choose? Which guild will you join?
You need to make a lot of decisions, but very few people see such decisions as paralyzing (introducing into the weak inaction). Can you imagine anyone saying something like that:
“I bought this game three years ago, but I never started playing it, because I just couldn’t decide which character to play. I don’t know exactly what to do!”
Instead, a lot of people would just dive into the game and start playing it. Few people will pay much attention to that kind of decision. Most likely, the decision will be made fairly quickly and even a little impulsively. And the result of all this will be fun.
Naturally, during the game they can show some regret: “Shit! I shouldn’t have picked up the damn thing!” But most people just won’t notice such a minor setback and keep playing. As a result, their character will raise their level, they will have to deal with more serious challenges. When the game gets tired, the player can just finish it and do something else.
So why in real life, such a situation can make us plunge into a terrible indecision, while in the gaming space most decisions are perceived as something less serious?
Perhaps the main factor is that you consider the consequences of the decisions you make in the game world as minimal (minor). No matter what decision you make, in reality you are not threatened by anything. Also, your decision does not hurt anyone else.
Bad choices only affect the game character, not the actual you. It’s all just an act. No matter what happens to your character, you’ll be fine.
That’s not what’s happening in the real world. Your actions have bigger consequences. You can hurt other people. You can screw up, you can be excluded from your circle, etc.
It’s understandable that many people are afraid of such consequences. After all, in a certain historical era, exclusion meant that your survival was at stake.
Today, however, the consequences of exclusion from a certain social group are not so significant. For example, in the United States, most marriages end in divorce. Once upon a time, divorce was perceived as unacceptable in society (in some cultures, this attitude has been maintained), but in most cases it is not.
Even if you are divorcing someone (perhaps ruining someone’s life in the process), our society is strong enough to digest this, and you may well continue your efforts to build happiness beyond your previous marriage.
When you try to analyze the decision making process, you try to evaluate and compare the consequences of different options. The path (choice) that leads to the best consequences is considered to be the right one.
Unfortunately, evaluating and comparing the consequences implies that you have the ability to predict the future. However, life very rarely fits in with our predictions.
As you can see, two problems lead us to a state of indecision. First, we perceive the consequences of certain decisions in our lives as something very important. Secondly, we try to predict what the best consequences will be. That’s how we try to make decisions.
What is the problem? The problem is that this approach often fails completely. The more importance you attach to the decision, the more you paralyse your actions. As a result, external factors will force you to take a certain path and you will lose your freedom of choice altogether. By refusing to make a decision, you choose the “default character”.
An alternative way of making decisions
How can you make decisions without comparing its future consequences?
The difference may seem conditional to you, but another approach to decision-making is to compare the consequences of the present moment.
What does that mean?
Instead of trying to predict the future consequences of your decisions when choosing a particular path, just give up this time model completely. Instead of seeing time as a past, present, or future, consider it as a fixed point. In other words, there is only the present, and there is nothing beyond it.
The moment of choice no longer implies the need to choose the path for the future (for the long term). Now you only choose the new “changed” state of the present.
When considering different choices, ask yourself the following questions:
“If I made the next choice, how would it affect me today? What kind of immediate change would I feel?”
Imagine the results of each choice as absolutely real, as if you’d already made your choice. Pay attention to the feelings and emotions you associate with each choice. Do you feel that the choice is correct or it is wrong in something?
The transition from “Choice Fork” to “Linear Growth”
Using the decision making process described above, I notice that the “fork of choice” often turns into “linear growth”. The indecisiveness fades and I notice that the “fork” was only an illusion. The fork is only a product of the mind – an obstacle that is created by the mind, because at some level I was not ready to face the next (quite logical) step on my path of linear growth.
All because I thought the next step was too complicated, so my consciousness created this “fork of choice” for me as a way to take time and stop my personal development.
For example, I spent many years developing computer games, then I got stuck in the “fork of choice”. I thought about the question: “Should I continue to develop my business to create computer games or start building a new career in the field of personal growth and development.
I continued to try to make the right decision by trying to predict future consequences on each path. But all this only led to me simply paralyzing my actions with constant analysis, trying to compare “apples to oranges”. So it was very difficult to make a decision.
Since it was quite difficult to change the field of activity, my consciousness had a tendency to keep me inactive. It was easier to remain indecisive and I had the illusion of freedom.
However, comparing both variants on the basis of “decisions for the present moment”, having considered what emotions and feelings each variant in the present moment caused me, I clearly saw the right decision.
Reflecting on the continued development of business in the field of computer games, I felt the way it feels to be trapped. Thinking about the area of personal growth and development, I felt inner enthusiasm. I didn’t have to predict the future. The difference in feelings in the present was quite clear.
All of this helped me to see what deep down inside I already knew the right answer. The problem was that it was hard for me to accept that answer, which is why I created the “fork of choice” in which I was stuck.
Once I realized that the fork of choice was an illusion I had created, I realized that the whole time I was just facing the challenge of linear growth.
Although, you might think that the transition from the business of computer games to the industry of personal growth is not linear growth, for me it was so. As my gaming business developed, I was writing articles that could help other game developers. In the end, my articles became more popular than my games.
Ever since then, whenever I stumbled across a confusing situation with the “fork of choice”, I have ultimately realized that this dichotomy is false* (two options that exclude each other). All this was just an illusion that helped me to wait to deal with the challenge I was facing on my personal growth path. Sometimes I would create a “fork of choice” in order to pause and accumulate strength for further overcoming.
The question was not to choose the right solution, because deep down in my heart I already knew it. I could see the fidelity of that decision, paying attention to the effect that that decision had created in my present. The challenge was: am I able to accept the chosen path and stop resisting it?
Is it possible that your position today, your “fork”, is just an illusion? Is it possible that you are simply using a tactic of delay? Perhaps you already know the right answer, but you find it difficult to accept it and accept it?
Do you realize that this is just a way to run away from what is imminent; you just don’t feel able to deal with the consequences yet? Do you see that the problem is not the choice at all? Do you see that it is all about your ability to fully accept the path that you are already on?
Understand that your task is not to choose the right path (you already know which path is right), but to accept with all your heart the path already chosen.
How do you accept your path?
By accepting your path, you will revive quite interesting emotions. I would call them a combination of relief, excitement and humility. You feel good about ending your state of indecision, but now you are beginning to feel a little uncomfortable, because now you have to take the job. You can no longer hide behind an excuse such as indecision.
If you get the feeling: “Hell… it won’t be easy! I’m not even sure I can do it…” – it’s perfectly normal. I get this feeling every time I get out of a fork condition. On the one hand, I know for sure that the solution is right. On the other hand, I’m not quite sure that I’m ready for the path I have to take.
Just stop asking myself: “Am I really destined to go this way?” and by accepting the answer “yes” completely, you become the person who is capable of it. The indecision evaporates, you come to terms with the path ahead of you.
The phrase: “I don’t know what to do” is just an excuse, which really means the following: “I don’t feel strong enough to take the next step. I mean, “I don’t know what to do” is pure water nonsense. YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO! You’re just afraid that you won’t be able to handle the situation.
And the funny thing is the following; if you channel all the energy you spend on excitement and indecision, you would soon be able to make significant progress in your business.
Which way out of “fork” makes you think, “God… I don’t know if I can. The task seems too difficult”? Maybe it’s the entrepreneur’s way? Could it be the way of a man who wants to lose some weight? Perhaps the path of a man who decides to have a family?
Get up the courage of those who have already defeated the monsters you have yet to fight. Those who have already reached the level you wish to reach. You can rise to their level if you make an effort to do so. For the character of the game 30 level looks dauntingly difficult only from his perspective – the perspective of the player 20 level. But you do not have to stay at level 20 forever.
Throw away the excuse called “indecision”, start working today at 21!