How to Break Out of the Rabbit Hole of Indecision
7 Fool-Proof Steps to Turn Your Ideas Into Actions
In our tech-driven world, we are now exposed to and hyper-aware of the endless possibilities of opportunity that await us. However, with this sensory overload of exposure and unlimited access to information, we have found ourselves getting stuck in the rabbit hole of indecision–where we obsessively research and contemplate every single choice that could be made for a situation until we realize we have exhausted hours of finite time and are no closer to reaching our decision. This is an extraordinarily frustrating habit to deal with–where our uncertainty surrounding a specific choice actually paralyzes us into inaction.
These types of loops are especially easy for young entrepreneurs to get stuck in. Maybe you have two viable ideas for a startup and are trying to decide which to pursue, or maybe you’re ready to start finding investors for your startup but have just been offered a sweet job at a well-known company. These are such difficult decisions to make and the journey down the rabbit hole feels inevitable. However, consider this, the cost of doing nothing far exceeds the cost of making a bad decision. Missing out on the possibility of a life-changing opportunity because of indecision is far worse than having made a bad decision in the first place. Thomas Edison famously once said in reference to his trials to generate an electric current, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. If you keep in mind that the consequences of your inaction far outweigh the consequences of making a decision then all my other steps to breaking out of the rabbit hole of indecision will seem like a piece of cake.
Set a Decision Deadline
Deadlines are important business tools designed to get people to get things done and take action. Deadlines help businesses create and build interpersonal and client relationships based off trust and offer a sense of focus and structure. Similarly, creating a deadline for yourself with help you grow and become more successful, happier version of you. A deadline will also keep you from procrastinating and obsessing about the “what-ifs” of your decision.
Remember Your Goals
It becomes so easy to get caught up in the now and be overwhelmed by the possibilities and choices before you but take time to step away to recall what your goals are. What do you want? What do you need? How do your options further your goals? When you really stop to consider these questions, you might actually have a simple answer.
Consider a Bigger Perspective
Take another moment to really step outside yourself and consider how important this decision is. Will this choice change the course of the rest of your life? Will this decision still affect you in a few weeks, a few months, a few years? It’s human nature to obsess and sweat the small stuff but looking at your options from an outsider’s perspective can completely change your thought process and help you arrive at your decision faster.
Talk to People You Trust
This is an easy one: stop talking to yourself and go find a friend already! It’s really no wonder this decision has been weighing so heavily on your mind when you haven’t reached out to get some fresh human perspective. Everyone has a myriad of people whom they trust: friends, family, spouses, colleagues, and mentors. Seek out the people in your life who you trust to ask their advice. Chances are they have been through something similar and have a wealth of useful information to give you!
Stop Cyclical Negative Thoughts
Personally, I find that when I become heavily stressed, my mind will start to think of something negative and my brain will just begin to recycle this pattern of thought over and over until I’m frustrated and sick to death of it. This type of cyclical negative thoughts inhibit the decision-making process and are damaging to your sense of self. Breaking out of these thought loops are tricky because everyone is going to be slightly different. I find that I like to flip flop whatever the thought is to make it positive. Usually, my negative thought loop revolves around what the worst possible outcome my decision could possibly be so I do the opposite. I focus on making it so positive that my initial negative one seems absurd and ridiculous.
Relaxing seems like the easiest suggestion but often times it becomes the easiest one to ignore. Take some time to not think about the overwhelming decision you have to make but instead focus on doing something you love that requires your mental focus. Do something active; working out is good for your body and its good for your mind too. It is one of the only things that relieves stress in the body and will give you the time and separation you need from your worries so that when you come back to them you will have a fresh perspective.
Become a Person of Action
This is a little easier said than done sometimes, but that’s because it takes work and it’s not going to happen overnight. Start with small stuff, instead of taking 15 minutes to pick out your outfit for the day, do it in 5. Write down all the little tasks you want to accomplish and instead of rereading the list and becoming overwhelmed, do each single one at a time. Eventually, you will become more comfortable and confident with your decision-making abilities and will metamorphose into a mature, decisive, effective and successful version of yourself.
Angela Sorury is the Editor and Director of Digital Content for Ham & Otter, an Indianapolis-based business and marketing blog. She also works at CMG, a motion arts and VFX studio and in her free time works as a freelance filmmaker. Angela studied Film Design and Production through Indiana University’s Department of Communication. She loves getting ideas and is currently working on putting them into action.