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Having trouble making decisions? This is how you make it easier

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There's a choice you have to make: for a house, a new job, or perhaps a partner. You just can’t decide, because you keep thinking: what if I come across a better option tomorrow? This phenomenon has a name: FOBO, fear of better options. It causes restlessness – but the good news is: you can make it stop. 

It’s a bit like you’re in an old fashioned TV quiz, standing before a conveyor belt. On the belt, several beautiful prizes pass by, but you only see each of them once: as soon as you’ve picked a prize, you can’t change your mind. When do you take your pick? Do you choose the washing machine, or do you wait for the wash-and-dry combination? 

FOBO comes from the desire to make the perfect choice (and the fear of making the wrong one and regretting it). It’s a logical aim, but indecisiveness causes a feeling of restlessness – or paralysis. You’d wish you could finally get it over with and take a decision. But how to do that?

Focus on your feelings

If you’re the kind of person who just keeps making lists of pros and cons, try to focus more on what you feel. After all, choices aren’t all about science, you can’t calculate every little thing. The choice that will make you the happiest, is an emotional one for the biggest part. Did you know, by the way, that your dreams can also help you to make choices? 

Think of your best choices

Which choices of your life made you really happy? They can be big or little ones (for instance, those earrings you bought because you were really in love with them, even though they were too expensive). Were they rational choices, or impulsive ones? Did you think long and hard, or did you simply decide? Analyzing your choices will help you to find out what’s the best way for you to make a choice. 

Pick a good choice - not a 'perfect' one

Perfection doesn’t exist. And the more you focus on it, the harder it is to know how you actually feel about a choice. Try to focus on options that are ‘just fine’. Even if another option emerges later on, you know that your choice was a good one too – based on the information you had at the time. 

Let the universe decide

If you just keep thinking about two options, let the universe decide. Throw a coin, or learn from the person who made up the word FOBO: name the one half of the clock ‘option A’ and the other half ‘option B’, then look at the clock (or your watch) and see: what’s the current location of the big arrow of the clock? That location tells you what your choice should be. (There’s a chance you don’t like this outcome. Then there’s your answer: you should pick the other option). 

Welcome ‘mistakes’ 

Avoiding mistakes is impossible, and worthless: after all, you learn the most from your mistakes. So welcome failure, because it helps you to get to know yourself. Next time, it’ll be easier to know what the best choice is.   

Photo: Chungkuk Bae