Deciding how to decide

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the decisions I can make. Everyday I have countless moments in which I can say yes or say no. To move right or left. Or to do nothing. And just experience what happens. This is a decision also.

I know myself as an overthinker and an over evaluator. Thus the decision between an espresso or a cappuccino will go through pros and cons. Even though the impact of this decision is little. The decision of where to go on holiday consumes more time since it seems to be more important.

Thinking about deciding does cost much time. We might think more than that we are active.

I realize this raises many questions. And therefore my goal of this article is to create awareness about decision making.

How much control do you have on your life?

There are several strategies to make decisions. The decision strategy that suits best for you depends on your perspective on life. Because the way you decide to look at your life does shape your decisions. The perspective on your life to me is the amount of control you believe to have on your life. Namely you behave differently if you believe that life is within your control from if you believe that life is outside your control. In extremes this means you either take yourself responsible for everything in your life. Or you trust the universe completely. In the middle there is a bit of both. Thus life is within and outside your control.

You are responsible

During personal instability an extreme perspective can give stability. Since there is only one way to behave. If you decide that you are in charge of your life you actively make decisions. It does feel good and empowering to say: “I am responsible for my life and nobody can influence me”. Your decisions come from internal motivation. However, this perspective gives me pressure. I do not want to make the wrong decision. And when I am in a miserable situation I must be a miserable decision maker. Thus it feels empowering on the one hand and on the other hand as a cause of self-condemnation.

The universum is responsible

The opposite belief that life is outside your control can create a safe space. The universe is your guide. Therefore decisions are based upon external signs that show what to do. This feels safe, because who to blame if a decision does not feel right? And everything you experience must be with a reason. Even though this feels more relaxed than the first perspective, it gives me a passive feeling. I have to wait for signs before I act.

The right balance

In the middle of the two perspectives is a bit of both. You create your life by taking your responsibility for your decisions. And you are open to chances that come across. Thus, you are in control and you are not in control. You accept that life is predictable and unpredictable. And because of that you cannot blame yourself fully or the universe completely for moments that you are in distress. Distress is a part of life. You can create a space of balance within yourself to get through this. 


In the introduction I write that we consume much time on decision making. Every action is followed after a decision. So we move from decision to decision to decision. Therefore we can call ourselves experts. But still we can give ourselves a tough time in deciding. Try to consider the below points when you face a decision that seems to be difficult.

  • No decision is wrong. If you choose to go right and it does not feel right. Make a turn to the left or backward.
  • Ask yourself if you decide for yourself or someone else. Namely, you need to feel good about your decision.
  • Write your options down when it feels like you are on a crossroad with too many exits. Hide the paper for a while. Do something else, such as walking. Since you wrote your options down you will not forget them. Read it again when your mind is more settled. And trust that your decision is the right one. 
  • Trust your gut feeling.

← back to the overview