How to Stop Getting Paralyzed and Start Making Better Decisions


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  • “I have three books I’d like to write, but I don’t know which one to start first.”
  • “I’d love to quit my job, but what would I do? I have so many passions.”
  • “I’ve always wanted to live on the beach, but I can’t decide exactly where.”

Let me tell it to you straight:  Thirty years from now, you will not remember what cereal you chose at the grocery store. You won’t recall whether you saw this movie or that one.

What will matter is that you acted, that you made a contribution, that you decided to do something.

The fact is most decisions aren’t life-changers. The universe doesn’t care what you had for breakfast, but chances are you will eat something. And certainly, you’d be better off eating eggs than Pop Tarts.

It’s not to say that there aren’t such things as good decisions. It’s just that most of the time, you just need to decide, to do something. To act. And this is the very thing that most of us are afraid of: making a choice. We waste time writing up plans and setting goals that never get done.

And we sadly squander our lives.

Better than planning

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-planning. I just know that for me (and plenty of people I talk to), a lot of that stuff is just stalling, hiding. Another way to stay stuck.

So what’s the solution? What’s the answer to this paralysis we sometimes feel?

Just start. Life is a journey, not a business plan. Quit trying to control things. Let go and live the story. What I’m trying to say is this: Where you’re going doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. Just go.

More often than not, you just need to move in a direction, any direction. As you build momentum, you can learn to steer.

Pick something

Your job is to take chances, not have all the answers. If this resonates with you, if it challenges the very fibers of your being, try any of the following:

  • Go for a walk.
  • Take a run.
  • Sit outside without your smartphone or laptop.
  • Climb a tree.
  • Do something dangerous.
  • Fall down.
  • Scrape your knee.
  • Tell someone you love them.
  • Laugh even if you don’t feel like it.
  • Write the first paragraph of that book.
  • Deliver a speech to a stranger.
  • Fill out that application.
  • Ask that girl/guy out.

Sure, some of these may seem silly, but the more you do them, the more alive you’ll feel. And that’s the secret of a fulfilled life. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the direction.

If you don’t know what to do with your life — what book to write, what song to sing, what job to choose, which person you should ask out — try picking something. It’s not a fail-proof solution, but it ain’t a bad place to start.

Because the truth is once you start moving, you can always change direction.


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