I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about decisions and my role in making them. I think I used to be a guy who would sit on the fence for a while before making a choice. Today, I feel more comfortable with taking action and sitting with the results.
An artist friend of mine once said,
There is no such thing as a wrong decision … if you change your mind, simply paint over it. ~EJ
Sounds pretty simple right? I took her advice and translated it as, follow my non harming impulses first and then sit with how I feel about it afterwards. If things feel off, then my role is to make a new decision or in her words paint over it.
I’ve done enough reading to know that taking action is the first step in getting answers, not weighing your choices in a pro and con list. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes those lists can help. Most of the time they are simply a procrastinator’s way of not deciding.
I was recently reminded that when life feels chaotic, it might be a wiser choice to slow things down before taking action. If action needs to be taken then take it, but if you can take some time to simply let things settle then do that as it may be a more effective approach.
Imagine a glass of clear water. Now imagine that you pour a spoonful of dirt into the glass and stir. The water becomes muddy and opaque. If you stop stirring and let the water and the dirt settle, soon the water is clear again and the dirt has formed a layer of sediment at the bottom of the glass. Your mind is like the glass full of dirt. If you allow your mind to settle, it will become clear. You can settle into the present moment with clarity of mind.
I like to think that when I am in moments of indecision I have to take a step back and observe whats actually happening. Taking my hand off the spoon that is stirring the water is the first step. Sitting and trusting that clarity will come in time is the next.
The value of experience can increase if we give it its requisite time
There a great book called “Ready Fire Aim” that speaks about this type of mindset. Yes, the book is a business book on wealth and making money. However at its core, it’s a book about how answers come after we take action, not before.
So to recap, take action first, take your hand off the spoon and then sit with it. In time, most often not to long afterwards, you will see if that choice served you or not.
Even though I have found myself sitting less and less on that oh so familiar fence, I do, like most people, catch myself falling back into old patterns. For me, the hardest part is giving myself permission to change my mind. Recognizing that things can change and giving myself permission to accept those changes. I seem to want things to be correct right out of the gate. I mean, don’t we all? Truth is, some decision don’t serve us and recognizing that is crucial. When things settle we can see clearly. When we see cleary we can take appropriate action. Once action has been taken, answers to questions float to the surface.
Do you ever find yourself trying to make a decision while stirring the spoon? How does that work for you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.