I have been asking myself this question a lot lately…and I usually add at the end “especially when you know that the choice is going to benefit you positively?” Exercising is a no-brainer. Making better food choice…OBVIOUS. Spending more time in the areas that you SAY are important to you. That makes sense doesn’t it? Yet what’s with the “sticking”?
Fear usually gets the rap. We are afraid to CHOOSE. We can talk for hours about our procrastination habits and our fear based, non-choosing actions. We are experts on ourselves. So whenever we’re faced with a solution to a problem we’ve also been talking about a whole lot, we then get into us having challenges moving forward because of this thing or that reason.
Peter Koestenbaum Ph.D., founder of Philosophy-in-Business™ asked this of his readers in his weekly newsletter: “Where are you in this part of your journey of life, the part that discovers the enormity of your freedom, its blessings and its agonies?”
Most of us are still looking for our purpose – our highest potential and are frustrated because we can’t seem to discern NEXT steps. But answer honestly: when the NEXT Step is as clear as day what is your usual response? Most of us would find reasons not to move forward. We might say “the timing is off…” or “I’m just not sure…”
Dr Koestenbaum puts this thought forward “If you are not ready to make a decision, then you just won’t make a decision, no matter how hard you try to make it. And if you do actually find the power to make one against your instincts, you will have made a serious error, similar to having a psychotic break. You have engaged in an “unnatural” act.”
But he also says that deep choices require the willingness to risk, which means to tolerate the anxiety and commit to the tenacity of improvising, of having the faith that we can make the decision succeed. “We never have all the facts. And anyway the facts change, right as we choose. Making a decision is more a matter of displaying faith in ourselves.”
Whoa! I think he might be on to something here “Making a decision is more a matter of displaying faith in ourselves.”
This got me thinking. It’s not that we don’t think that the solution is a worthy one we just don’t think that WE can do what’s necessary. It’s like “why bother? I know I’m not going to follow through with this so why start?”
Back up a bit and know that fear is part of our reason not to make a decision and move forward, but we need to name the fear…a fear of what actually? Carolyn Myss, bestselling author of Anatomy of the Spirit and Sacred Contracts provides an answer. She says that all excuses boil down to the fear of humiliation.
For those of us in indecision mode, Myss says that we are waiting for something that will NEVER come. In her words
“They want guidance in a package, like a severance package or portfolio. And they want their guidance package to contain:
- Specifics of what they should do and with whom usually with a guarantee that other people involved will do all the “high risk” work
- A guarantee that they will not have to invest one cent of their own money but will make a great deal in return doing the minimum
- A guarantee that they will not have to move, reorganize their lives, or become uncomfortable in any way, shape or form and most important of all
- A guarantee that they will not, they MUST NOT fail. Oh, and being admired by others in this “highest potential project” would also be nice.
As Garfied the comic book cat often says “I resemble that remark.” Most of us wouldn’t admit it publicly but come on! We want a guarantee that we will win the race before we even begin to run! Rather than face the music in our own lives we prefer to make up stories and reasons, claiming confusion and overwhelm and difficulties in hearing our own selves speak.
I was looking at Larry Winget on his series on Bio called Big Spender. The show’s synopsis: “From the outside their lives look perfect. Nice houses. New cars. Closets full of clothes. The problem? Thousands and thousands of dollars in debt. Welcome to BIG SPENDER, the A&E series that takes you inside the lives of people with mountains of debt, no savings, no assets and disastrous spending habits. They’re on the brink of financial ruin with no hope at all…until now.”
So basically Larry comes in to help them – to right their financial lives. Is he received with open arms and folks committed to doing as advised? Most times no. People are concerned with how he’s talking to them, that he is a pompous s.o.b etc. etc. This amazes me because these folks need help. But I understand it a little better now that I’ve heard from Dr Koestenbaum and Carolyn Myss.
We have no faith in ourselves to execute and we would prefer to take no action at all once we could stave off being humiliated. It doesn’t have to be this way. You can become better at making decisions if you are willing to meet the real you. In many ways you are a stranger to yourself especially if you are in search mode, not knowing your own highest potential and in runaway mode, not wanting to confront those dark sides of your personality that you prefer didn’t exist.
There is only one decision you need to make today and that is to get to know yourself – the WHOLE shebang. When you do, you’ll find that you can commit to not just DECIDING but TAKING ACTION!