Confidently Unqualified to Decide

We are drawn, by nature, to solve puzzles. For some, it feels like an inviting challenge. Others feel it as a necessary burden, particularly if there is self-doubt that sits behind and underneath every decision.

We are drawn, by nature, to solve puzzles. For some, it feels like an inviting challenge. Others feel it as a necessary burden, particularly if there is self-doubt that sits behind and underneath every decision. But most of us are drawn to “solve for x” as quickly as possible. Notice I said “QUICKLY”. However, delaying the instant response may give you consistently better results.

Welcome to human nature, 101, where the majority of people are cautious or hesitant to deviate from their first-choice response to challenge.

More importantly, we tend to dislike ambiguity. I will give you an example.

85% of people dislike what they perceive as change. 15% of people like to think of themselves as “Change agents”. Which are you?

Did that feel comfortable to immediately put yourself in one of those two categories? Did you make a snap decision, pegging yourself completely as one or the other? Was it compelling to say to yourself, “Oh, that’s me–boom, done, decided?”

But what if that changes, daily… or even based on something going on in the day and you carry the decisionmaking across for days, or months? 

Maybe you’re not really 100% one or the other, but have a preference, and that preference can be influenced or changed by circumstances or opportunity.

This entire construct is a falsehood, the percentages, the whole binary framework of those who are one or the other. But, this is certainly simpler, faster, easier, and produces dopamine more quickly to go, “YES!” And check one of only two boxes. That’s where the trouble begins.

There are ways to let yourself off the hook, to change your mind, to be more than one vs the other. I offer two principles or ideas to keep in mind, to give yourself some breathing room that you’re not always going to get every decision right, every time… 

1) Slow down, step out of the line of fire, look at the situation from all sides, including the ones you don’t like, to get the bigger picture. Stay curious JUST a little longer than you want to be.
2) You probably have coped with things turning upside down on you before, how did you manage that? Did you figure it out by yourself, or did you get what you needed with the help of others? Take a little extra time to come up with a few scenarios, a Plan A, B AND C, perhaps.

Starts with the attitude of accepting the discomfort of ambiguity, along with a sense that you will be able to manage with the consequences of your decisions – if you give yourself the time to work it out.

Both of these can be tough, particularly if you haven’t examined how much of either of those you have faced, whether by choice or circumstances, but certainly the COVID pandemic has given us all an opportunity to see how well we do with these factors. 

None of us is perfect at managing ambiguity or being ready to deal with every scenario we may land in tomorrow. But accepting that we all have to do it, at some level, and for some amount of time, can give us a little breathing room to gain a little bit of understanding (and control) over who we are and how we can manage. Hopefully, with this in mind, “managing” becomes making better decisions, with the acceptance of these principles.

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