6 Mental Blocks to Avoid That Prevent Logical Decision Making
Decisions are what shape our lives. Whether it is if you are going to take that job or what you were going to have for lunch, Decisions either take us closer to or further away from our ultimate purpose and direction. In order to further ourselves in the direction that we wish to go, we must learn how to make effective decisions on a constant basis.
Most often, when we are having trouble making a decision, the biggest obstacle that stands in our way is yourself. We put mental traps in the way of making decisions. It is because it goes against our natural sense of safety when we go out of our comfort zone to make new things happen. It is our job to constantly push the boundaries of our inner psyche in order to push ourselves forward into the future of our dreams.
Here are a couple of mental traps and the blocks that prevent us from effectively making decisions to move us forward.
“Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.”
― Woody Guthrie
Do not over complicate the decisions that you have to make. While there may be many factors that contribute to the overall situation, it is in your own best interest to keep things as simple as possible. Try to look at the “matter of facts” and “cold hard truths” rather than spending hours or days trying to situate every single detail of an issue. It will become too overwhelming and too much to consider for just one decision. You will end up stacking so much onto either side that making any decision in opposition to the other would be paralyzing.
Do your best to boil down a situation into its most important factors. What are the things that are going to be most affected by your decision? What are the most important things to you? What absolutely has to happen? What absolutely cannot happen? What can be remedied after the fact?
Overchoice and False Ultimatum
there is a tricky balance that comes with Overchoice and false ultimatums. It is important to realize that this isn’t meant to be thought of as a numbers game. The main goal is just to get past the mental clutter to make a decision. In order to do that, we must understand these two mental blocks together as they are on different ends of the spectrum.
Have you ever had so many options to choose from that it took you so unnecessarily long to actually make a decision? That is Overchoice. When a cheesecake factory menu has 87 different entrée items, and it becomes impossible to pick one, that is Overchoice. This is a real cognitive process that makes it extremely difficult for people to make decisions while they are faced with an overwhelmingly large amount of options. We very often end up either completely shutting down or picking an option at complete random just to get it over with.
If you ever feel you are faced with too many options, start illuminating as soon as possible. If you were choices there are to pick from, the easier it gets to finally make a decision.
On the other end, there is the false ultimatum (or false dilemma). A false ultimatum is a logical fallacy that is normally used from one person to another, but it can very well be used against yourself accidentally. This is when you are sad to believe that hey situation has an “either/or” ultimatum when there are really more options to choose from. We back ourselves into our own a corner thinking that we are trapped between two (or just a few) decisions, while all we have to do is step back to realize there is another way.
Try not to get too wrapped up in your current mindset that it blinds you from other possibilities and solutions to your problems. On the other hand, try not to drown yourself with so many options that it becomes impossible to choose.
Lack of Trust in Self
While this is a simple one, it holds true for so many people. No matter what conclusion we come to; no matter how much evidence there is supporting it; no matter how logically sound your point may be, you just can’t seem to trust yourself making the decision on your own. You don’t feel like an expert or someone who knows best, so you don’t feel like you can make intelligent choices.
This completely gives you power away. No matter how personal a matter, you begin to feel that you have to have another person's opinion in order to move forward.
The odd part is, trusting in yourself is a decision in itself. You have to choose to have faith in yourself even when it’s difficult to do so. It’s always good to have another person’s opinion, especially when it is a very well educated and informed decision. However, sometimes your choice is just as good as anyone else’s. Sometimes it’s better. You must have a degree of trust in yourself to be able to hear outside opinions and trust yourself to do the right thing.
This one seems strange, but if you have some faith you will be shocked at how well it works. Sometimes we describe our situations in a not so optimistic visual setting. We might say “It feels like I’m trapped in a dark room” or “...like there’s an unbreakable wall in the way” or “I’m stranded on an island with nothing and no one”. These visualizations are impossible to solve… because we make them impossible to solve!
We construct these mental traps, we place ourselves in them, then we panic when we can’t escape. Do this (and seriously think about it). Next time you feel like you are trapped in the dark… turn on the light. Seriously. Then ask yourself some questions. If the lights turned on, what would I see? Who would be there? What could be there?
If you feel blocked by an unbreakable wall, don’t try to break it. Put a door there and open it. What would be on the other side? What would it feel like after you walk through? You see, these methods are to put yourself in the mindset of solving the problem. We can solve any problem we have with the right perspective. These visualization tools help us find that perspective.
If something is going to hold us back, don’t let it be your own mind. Make your mind a freeing place where anything is possible. You are allowed to do that. If you are able to set your own limitation, then set it high since you have the option.
All of us know about perfectionism, but I had to include it. Perfectionism isn’t a curse unless it stops us from moving forward. It’s ok to want things to be perfect. We just need to be ok with them when they aren’t. We can aim for perfect, but must accept when they fall short. That is the point of perfect. You aren’t supposed to reach perfect. Perfect is meant to be the ever-evolving and growing goal to chase. If we reached perfect, there would be nowhere else to go but down.
You should fear the day you actually are able to reach perfect. There’s nothing left after perfect.
Many push back decisions on the subconscious hope that something will come up and save them from having to make that decision. They end up pushing it back so much that the decision is made for them by force of external pressures. Some people actually find losing control of a situation as a relief since they aren’t responsible anymore.
There won't be a Deus Ex Machina to save the day and you from having to make a decision. You will have to make it yourself, so don’t pushback what has to be done. When you push back a decision for too long, there is a high chance it will be forgotten or overlooked-- forever halting you in that area of life or forgoing your control of the decision.
Take control. Take responsibility. Take the leap.