A Guide to Indecision and the Empowerment of Responsibility

Four Ways to Not Make a Decision

Here’s my problem: I have difficulty narrowing down choices and making a decision. I, unlike most people, am not afraid of consequences, per se. My problem is I want to do it all!

Many of us aschew the responsibilty of weighing pros and cons and making a logical conclusion. (Logic, shmlogic! Am I right?) 

I have listed a few of the ways I divert responsibility. You can try these for yourself (or embrace them confidently if you already use them), but they come with a warning: you are still responsible for your actions as well as your inactions.

  1. Let circumstances dictate the choice. There are times when there are lots of good options, and I would be happy with any of them, so I let it play out or I let others decide. When I transferred universities due to costs and location, the major I had been working on for more than two years wasn’t offered at my new university.  However, many of the credits transferred under English courses, so I decided to declare English as my major. I thought it was a temporary solution, but I completed two BAs in English and had an incredibly successful educational experience. 
  2. Find an option that includes many others. Sometimes you can find an option that allows you many different experiences in one. When deciding on a recent family trip, I looked at location and amenities of parks to find the one that would allow for the most experiences. On this trip we hiked, toured a cave, camped, canoed and viewed Native American graffiti, but because I had camped us near a metropolis, we also patroned a zoo, went to a national monument, dined at a favorite brewery, and even visited friends who moved away years ago. Granted this made our trip a few days longer than if we had just camped or just went to the city, but if you are going to spend the time and gas on traveling away from home, you might as well get the most bang for your buck.
  3. Procrastinate until all options are gone. To sound less irresponsible, I can use terms like “patience” or “waiting for the right opportunity,” but I am going to be honest–it’s usually procrastinating. Sometimes I simply fail to seize opportunities when they arise. Since I was young I wanted to perform in musical theater, but due to a voice from my past saying “you’re good, but not good enough for Broadway,” it was years before I auditioned for a musical in a local theater. My first role was one of the leads in a very difficult production. When I told my fellow cast members about my insecurities, they encouraged me that I could be a professional. I had wasted a lot of time not doing what I wanted to do. The worst part was missing the  opportunity to audition for one of my favorite roles, Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, in a production the previous year. I have few real regrets–that is one of them. 
  4. Dabble. Dabbling can be a tool of procrastination, but intentional dabbling can provide numerous smaller experiences to help you focus on what you really want. One of my favorite aspects of freelance writing and editing is that I can focus on one topic one day and a completely different topic another day. Through these experiences, I may find a topic about which I am passionate, an abundance of inspiration and even my niche market. It’s like taking small bites of several desserts and choosing a whole piece of the one you like the best…or two half pieces of the two you like the best…or three third pieces of three you like the best…

The Empowerment of Responsibility

In all seriousness, we are responsible for all the decisions we make. Don’t blame others for your circumstances. Taking responsibilyt is the right thing to do, but it is also a key to empowerment and happiness. 

Before I continue, I realize there are horrific situations that cannot be controlled: illness, crimes committed against you, natural disasters, etc. I do not recommend taking responsibility for those things. They are not your fault, even if some of your choices led up to that sitation. How you respond to them, however, is your responsibility. Find what you do control in the situation (continuation of abuse, treatment options, attitude toward the issue, how to move on, etc.), and you may be able to find this elusive happiness of which I am speaking and empowerment to make the situation the best it can be. If this is the circumstance you are in, please seek out professional help. 

My life changed when I realized I am in control. I was in a circumstance that seemed hopeless. (Forgive me for not going into detail, it is a private matter.) I could do nothing, and I had no way out. At least that is how I felt.  

One day I realized that I do have a choice. My choices were terrible, but still yet, I was choosing to be in the situation I was in. Suddenly, I felt like everything popped into place. 

The circumstances didn’t change, but realizing it was in my control changed my impotence to confidence. I have made this decision, I know why I have made this decision, and I am choosing to remain in this situation until I can find a better choice. When I stopped thinking of myself as the victim, I was able to be happy, even though the circumstance didn’t change. 

Most likely, the situation you are in is acutally in your control. You may have poor choices from which to choose, but you still are choosing to be where you are. 

  • Hate your job? Realize you are choosing to be there, even if the alternatives are homelessness or ruining your career. 
  • In a bad relationship? You are choosing to continue that relationship over lonliness or rejection. 
  • Living in a crappy house? You choose living in that home insttead of a tent or living with your parents. 

Taking ownership of your circumstances gives you power. Not only do you feel in control of your circumstances, you just feel better about it.  It doesn’t stop there, though. This empowerment helps you make a change. 

If you feel like you are just a passenger on a runaway stagecoach, you will do nothing to save yourself. However, if you acknowledge you are in control of where you are and what you are doing, you can take the reins and steer your circumstances another direction. Realizing your responsibiliyt in your situtaion does not only make you feel in control, it also empowers you to change the situation where you can. 

  • I am in this terrible job because I choose to be; I choose to look for other employment or continue my education/training to better qualify me for a more desirable job. 
  • I choose to be friends with people who do not care for me; I choose to find other friends or take a stand for myself. 
  • I choose to live in a house tht is run down or messy; I choose to change my house or find another dwelling. 

Taking repsonsibiluty for your choices or inaction is far more complicated that I can discss here, but seek out that empowerment. 

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What is an unfavorable circumstance you are currently in? What choices are you making to perpetuate the circumstance? What choices can you make to change that circumstance?

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