Mind Trap Day 6 - Making Decisions - How To Make The Right Ones And Avoid Regret

alt We often believe the reason we struggle to make decisions is simply because we are confused about which decision would give the best outcome for us, or our families. However, a lot of the time - especially if we are stressed or lacking confidence - the decision making process makes us dig deep into our emotions, and we struggle with ourselves at the deepest level.

Even when we know the answer which may give the best outcome, we still struggle to fully commit to one path or another, putting ourselves through tremendous amounts of doubt and anxiety.

The real reason we struggle to make decisions is often not because we are confused about which path we should choose, but because we are afraid we may think the decision we made was the wrong one. The fear is actually nothing to do with the choice we have to make, but a fear of the future, and that we are not going to be able to live with our choices.

What's more, our brain does not know the difference between having a feeling now or predicting what we will feel in the future, it just feels the feeling. This makes interpreting our emotions even more difficult and the decision-making process even harder!

This also happens in reverse. If we regret a decision we made in the past, this may not actually be anything to do with the decision itself, but more to do with a sense of missing out on what could have, in our minds, been a better outcome. Our brains can often work against us and, in this case, any decision we would have made may have led to the same sense of fear, doubt and regret.

So, what does all this actually mean?

If you are stressed, feeling low or have low self-confidence, whatever decision you make could mean you will harbour all these negative feelings in the future, so what does it matter which road you take? The outcome - in terms of your emotions - will be the same.

If this is the case, then how do we overcome it?

If we are making a difficult decision, we need to try to eliminate the future feelings of self-doubt and regret, and we need to ask ourselves:

  • If I knew I could feel however I wanted in the future, what would I choose?
  • If I knew that whichever decision I make, I won’t feel regret or doubt in the future, which would I choose?

It therefore actually doesn’t matter what decisions we make; if we are not confident and settled in our lives, our thoughts about a particular job / relationship / situation are likely to always stay the same wherever we are and whatever we do.

In order to be happy about the decisions we make, we have to fully commit to our path with confidence, safe in the knowledge that we may always feel doubt, fear and regret. It is how we respond to these feeling that makes the difference between success and failure. If we listen to the fear and reverse on the decision, we can guarantee that in a few months’ time those feelings of fear, regret and anxiety will return!

A key question to look at here is why are we so worried about having these negative feelings in the future. We've have had them in the past, they are normal and natural and we can deal with them just fine. So knowing they are coming in the future - and that they are nothing to fear - frees our mind to choose whatever we want.

To summarise - the real question here should be - knowing my brain will go through fear, regret, doubt and anxiety no matter what decision I make, which one is the adventure I want to have??? Which one will give me the greatest pleasure when I get there?

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All Photo's used for our 'Mind Trap' Series were provided by Dominique-Alana Photography