Have you ever felt overwhelmed and simply too tired to make up your mind about a very simple, straightforward choice? Before telling yourself that you are indecisive there are some things you should know.
According to Myers Briggs, when it comes to decision making we are all on a scale of preferring to have matters settled (J) or preferring to keep decisions open (P). There are positive aspects to both preferences, and it helps knowing which one you are. It also helps to know the preference of the people who are making the decisions with you.
Our society worships choice. Whether it is politics, fashion, shopping, watching TV, the right school for our children, the model of car we drive or even what we believe, we are told it’s up to each one of us individually. We are free to choose, because we apparently are the best and ultimate judge of our own good.
How do you take your coffee? Mocha, Latte or Americano? Full, semi-skimmed, skimmed or soya? Hazelnut or Caramel flavour? Which size? Anything to eat? Already you have had to make multiple choices, and that’s just for a cup of coffee.
This kind of onslaught leads to what psychology refers to as ‘decision fatigue’: “The quality of decision making by an individual deteriorates after a long session of decision making”, even if those decisions are all trivial and no more important than choosing a drink.
So here are three words that can help us stay on top in today’s choice culture:
Leave important decisions to the morning. Poor decisions – like saying yes to people when we should have said no and impulse buying in shops or on-line – are more likely to occur later in the day. So whenever possible, create some space, sleep on it, leave the decision for when you are fresh. The same goes for emails, texts and messaging late at night. Remember, the quality of our decision-making is gradually deteriorating throughout the day.
Limit your exposure to unimportant choices. That’s easier said than done, but awareness comes first and of course we have the choice not to allow ourselves to be endlessly bombarded in shops, on TV, the Internet and social media.
Intentionally involve God and trusted others in your decision-making. I have come to the conclusion that my perspective is limited and that actually I am not the best judge after all. God sees further and really knows what’s good for me, although that’s not always immediately obvious, because “… my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8, NIV) Jesus takes it one step further by actually claiming that He is the way (John 14:6). And when He has to make the ultimate choice, He defers to His Heavenly Father: “…not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
So maybe the real choice is not what we choose, but who makes the choice.
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