Indecision is a Decision

Whether we choose to see it or not

Sometimes when you wish for something hard enough it actually happens—and it’s nothing like you had anticipated. You’re left speechless and try to figure out where everything went wrong. Why was the situation nothing like you expected? What had happened? How had everything spiraled out of control?

There are many instances in my life when I wish that I had made a different choice. These are things that used to fill me with so much regret. I would regret the bad decision. I would regret the outcome of that decision. I would blame myself for not being smart enough, not being bold enough, not being strong enough. When really, it was none of the above.

The entire problem was with how I chose to view the situation. I chose to feel slighted by my actions instead of learning from them. I chose to wallow in self-pity about the things that I could not change, instead of learning from those decisions and pursuing a path more to my choosing.

It is when we decide to learn from our past mistakes that regret turns to wisdom—and wisdom builds character.

Many problems in my life can be traced back towards indecisiveness and inaction. I used to have a mantra that I lived my life by: “Go with the flow”. I figured that if I made no decision, neither in support or denial—that I could never be wrong. If I was never wrong—If I never invested myself in an outcome—then I could never be hurt. I would never fail. For to fail you must try, and by removing that option from the table I fooled myself into thinking that I was neutral and safe, cozy in the grey in-between.

It took me a long time to realize that indecision is a decision. It is a decision not to act. It is a decision to not take part. For every action (or inaction) there is an equal and opposite reaction, whether we choose to see it or not. Life doesn’t care—the world will keep spinning regardless.

Our life is made up of the stories that we tell ourselves. Most of the time these stories are all permutations of the perception of how others will see us. “I’m not skinny enough,” “I’m not smart enough,” “I’m not talented enough,” “I’m not rich enough.” We always look outward to explain our lives to us, without ever looking inward, without ever looking back.

What does your past tell you about yourself?

Imagine your past as an unrolled, tangled mess of yarn, with sections of string representing strands of experiences in your life. When sitting on the floor with your legs crossed and a mass of string in-between your fingers things can feel quite overwhelming. But there’s a big secret about how to unravel our lives. You start small. Everything is built upon something else.

What decisions did you make that did not pan out the way that you had planned? What strings were cut short? What strings did you think would lead you down a path of prosperity but instead lead you right to despair’s doorstep? Where did this happen? What did you choose? Why did you do it? Was it a decision based on logic or emotion? Was it pure chance or intentionally staged? Was there no reason at all?

By asking these questions about pivotal moments in our past a curious thing happens. Patterns begin to emerge; we learn more about ourselves. Maybe we are always looking for the next best thing. Perhaps we’re so preoccupied with what others think of us that we forego what is truly important to us. Maybe we overthink things. Maybe our emotions get the best of us. Maybe we take too many risks; maybe we don’t take enough.

Looking inward and looking back at my life—I realize that fear of missing out prevents me from doing so many things. I am so scared to waste my time traveling down the wrong path that I don’t choose any path at all; or I choose all of the paths that are available, often delaying an important decision until the last possible second. I will start a personal project with enthusiasm and fervor only to drop it two weeks later in want of some new shiny opportunity that has come my way.

What this reveals to me is that I need to learn how to say no. I need to learn consistency. I need to learn how to follow things through to the end even if it’s hard, even if a seemingly better opportunity is on the horizon. I need to learn how to trust myself. I need to learn how to accept others help. I need to learn how to figure out what it is that I want and what it is that others want from me and how to separate the two.

I need to always push myself to put one foot in front of the other—even when I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I need to stop blaming laziness as the cause for my inaction and instead yell the true reasons from the top of my lungs:

I AM SCARED TO FAIL!
I AM TERRIFIED OF WASTING MY TIME!
I DON’T KNOW WHO I AM!
I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT!

But I’m going to figure it out. And I invite you to join me on my journey.

Much Love,

Steven

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