If You Can’t Decide, The Answer Is NO
January 20, 2021
At different times in our life, we face difficult choices that involve doing or NOT doing something. The difficulty is that the outcome of the choice we decide on will significantly impact our future life.
Choosing a life partner: Should I marry this person or not?
Buying a House: Should I invest in purchasing the house or not?
Moving to a New City: Should I shift to this new location or not?
Changing Jobs: Should I take this new job or not?
Becoming an entrepreneur: Should I quit my job to start on my own or not?
I have a simple mental model for dealing with such difficult choices.
If I cannot decide between doing something and not doing something, then my answer is always a NO.
When making life-impacting choices, we get locked in for the long term.
Choosing a partner is a lifetime commitment. Quitting a job to become an entrepreneur is a ten or twenty-year agenda. Moving to a new city is a 5 to 10-year decision if you have a family. The cost of reversing these decisions can be pretty high.
Therefore, I have learned from experience; you should say YES only if you are pretty certain.
Without being sure, if you find yourself taking refuge in spreadsheets and balance sheets listing out the Pros and Cons, Positives and Negatives…..then don’t bother. If you are unable to decide, it is clear- the answer is NO.
You don’t make life decisions on the margins. It is better if you are deciding based on a high degree of certainty. After making the choice, you should certainly have a clear plan on what you will do if things don’t pan out the way you expect them to. If you are experiencing some fear, you can also do a fear-setting exercise.
Often, we struggle with deciding because of factors like fear of missing out or others’ opinions. If you find yourself uncertain, it means you are not ready to make the decision, and you don’t owe your decision to anyone- The answer is a NO.