Can I come to grips with the thought that "there are no wrong decisions"?
Decisions can be daunting. I know that by making a choice I am saying yes to one thing and no to another. I know that there is really no sure way to know the outcome of each decision. It might go well, better than anticipated. Or it might go terribly wrong, with unseen complications. So I can find myself paralyzed by my decisions and sometimes make no choice at all.
This paralysis is wrapped up in the fear of making the wrong choice and the worry of having to recover (if I can) from a poor decision. This fear is complicated and multifaceted. I not only fear the outcome of my decision but the potential loss of ‘face’ with my friends, peers, and family. I fear the embarrassment of failure, the humiliation of mistakes, and the shame of not being right. What if I could set this fear aside and what if there was no wrong decision?
My fears cannot prevent a complex, uncertain, and volatile future from happening. Despite all of my best efforts to predict the best decision, there are so many variables and complexities now that I cannot anticipate everything.
So what if I didn’t try to?
My best solution is to make a decision, any decision, and to constantly correct and adjust as new information and ramifications arise.
I find great solace in the idea that there are no wrong decisions. There is only a choose-your-own adventure quality to life and that I will simply experience a slightly different story line as a result of my choices. Who is to say that the plot of each of those stories is better or worse, right or wrong?
When presented with an unanticipated consequence of my decision-making I could spend time imagining that the other choice would have been better and would have gone off without a hitch. But there is no certainty in that. In fact, I would argue that it is just as likely that there would have been some unforeseen consequence to that decision as well.
Instead of imagining that the result of a decision will be a path of perfection and ease, I instead imagine the path will be filled with brambles and obstacles. Opportunities to learn, adjust, and refine. This releases me from the idea that one path would have been perfect. Instead both paths would result in some learning and growing, and neither was ‘right’. Or both were ‘right’.
You see, I believe that life is simply meant as a learning experience. Learning happens in all situations, both positive and negative things that happen. So no matter what choices I make, I will learn something. How then can I be wrong?
And when I cannot imagine that both decisions could be right, I try this framing instead. There is a resulting storyline that will come from every decision. The very best stories told include a hero who is able to recover after a grave error in judgement or a decision gone wrong. So instead of berating myself for my decision, I embrace the storyline I have created and become the hero who overcomes.