Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Decisions, Decisions...

Although it may seem ironic, zebras' black and white stripes actually serve as camouflage. Since they generally travel together in large numbers, their main predators, lions, often cannot select one zebra within a herd and are instead confused by a hypnotic play of colors before them. Thus, they hold off their pursuits until they can clearly distinguish a single zebra. Interestingly, this dilemma easily translates into the realm of decision making.

Like a hungry lion before a herd of zebras, how many times have you had to make a decision only to be overwhelmed by a seemingly endless array of choices? Or been faced with the daunting task of trying to successfully weigh numerous considerations against each other? Perhaps you “sit on the fence” and refrain from making any decision whatsoever in such situations, hoping that things will become clearer with time. In turning either left or right at the proverbial “fork in the road”, remaining undecided at the fork undoubtedly introduces a third choice, that is, not actively making a decision at all. This reminds me of an old song that says “if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice”.

Although indecision can seem like a safer bet when faced with an apparent 50% chance of making a bad decision, personal growth is largely sacrificed and thus, serious stagnation may result! In addition, valuable feedback is lost. Feedback can reinforce a good decision and lead to more of the same, while improving decision making and provoking learning following a bad decision. Oddly enough, indecision does serve a deeper purpose, however flawed. It can effectively mask feelings such as anxiety or apathy, and/or impede us from accepting responsibility for decisions that we might make erroneously. In more extreme cases, this can even develop into a fear of making decisions altogether, i.e., decidophobia.

So then how do you go about overcoming this tendency to put off decisions? First of all, it can be useful to reflect on the potential consequences of not actively making a choice. Ask yourself: how much time, money, energy, opportunity, assistance, etc. will be wasted by not making said decision? Is this in the best interest of you, other consciousnesses (both intraphysical and extraphysical), and the greater good? It is also imperative to contemplate the worst thing that could happen if you make the wrong decision. Are the consequences really that severe? These are all factors that need to be considered when facing a decision.

by Jack Grabon - IAC New York

Published in the Fall 2008 ebulletin:

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