Thursday, March 7, 2019

The choice is yours

There was never any debate between me and myself over whether I should sell the house, get rid of nearly all my stuff, and live in a van. It was an instant, “Yes!”

It’s not a simple decision for many. There are a lot of pros and cons for them to consider. And reconsider. And turn inside out and upside down.

Some folks are exceptionally good at seeing every side of a proposition and making convincing arguments for and against every alternative—which keeps them from making any choice.

Others are torn between rational and emotional reasons.

And some have reached the point where they just don’t know, where they can’t even form coherent thoughts about it anymore.

My therapist had a little trick for breaking through indecisiveness. “I’m going to ask you a question. I want you to immediately give the first answer that pops into your head. No thinking about it first. Just react. Ready? Here it is: What do you want to do?”

His theory is that you usually do know what you want. Once you’ve named the thing you want, you can examine the reasons your choice wasn’t clear, or why you resisted it. Was it because you didn’t see a way to make it happen? Would the thing you want violate your ethics or the law? Would it harm someone you care about? Focus on the real reasons. Then, if you still want that thing, turn your time and energy toward ways to make it happen.

Indecision is exhausting. Fighting yourself is exhausting. Knowing the answer then finding the way is energizing.

So, quickly, without thinking, what do you want?


  1. Yes, sometimes your brain knows but, like you said, for some reason doesn't want to tell you. Another way to trick your brain into telling you is to toss a penny. Then check to see if its answer pleases you or disappoints you.

  2. Advice I heard once amidst indecision. Make a choice then throw ALL your energy into making that choice work out well.

  3. I first lived on a van in 1975. It's amazing that decisions that give us joy, are so hard to make. Only the shadow knows.