Decision-making issues


Here and there I read local job advertisements and quite a few of them require good (or rather excellent) decision-making skills. The potential employers want the potential employee not to be afraid of making decisions and be willing to take responsibility for them, probably in situations and under conditions which may be very stressful and difficult. Without hesitation, I put these ads aside. I know I am not that kind of person. I do not make my decisions easily. Not even the most trivial ones.

Imagine me, standing in a shop, not able to choose a T-shirt. I like a few but I am not sure which one looks good on me and when I finally pick out one and bring it home, I see I definitely should have bought another one. Or I am in a bookshop looking for an interesting book for my son and get stuck holding two books in my hands, finding both of them nice but having to make a choice… So I browse through them endlessly and spend too much time there. Too much precious time.

The decision-making process is a path taking us into various directions and unknown terrain and there are many pieces of advice available on how to control that process, how to make it most efficient. Yet however meaningful the advice is, however helpful it is to follow it, it is still you who makes the decision, being it the most trivial or the most important one.

Sometimes I feel helpless.

Sometimes my neck hurts from turning my head back while questioning repeatedly the decisions I had made and I wish I was much better at putting a clear line between ‘before’ and ‘now’.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by all the possibilities and options I can choose from.

But life goes on and until it ends there is always a chance to learn how to deal with its challenges better and grow. Something to be grateful for.



    1. Roy, this answer is really important to know, I agree with that. I’m not afraid of making a mistake, I’m rather afraid of not making the right decision, which may sound the same and eventually has the same effect. But it’s more complicated and the main problem may be elsewhere. Thanks for your point of view, all the comments helped me to see the problem from different perspective and I’d love to draw a helpful conclusion from them.

  1. Soosie

    Snap. And all too often the decision I make is a cop out. Unable to choose a t-shirt or a book? I buy them both. And more fundamental decisions can wake me sweating in the small hours – assuming they have let me sleep until then. Thank you for the much needed reminder that I can learn to do better – in this and other things. And I am in awe at this image too.

  2. Anyes - Far Away In The Sunshine

    I can feel the anguish it must be for you Petra, not to be able to decide as fast as you want to. I am very lucky to be able to make a decision fairly easily, and reading your words I am even more thankful now.
    What an amazing photograph Petra, where did you take it?

  3. Marcie

    I think (don't quote me) I read somewhere that the word 'decision' means to 'cut off from'…to choose one thing over another and thereby cutting off your options. And of course – when thinking about it that way – it makes it almost impossible to 'decide'. For me – some decisions and choices are quick and easy…whereas others – I can never quite make. I so get it Petra!!!

  4. Honey

    i don't know when, but at some point, i realized that every choice made is a compromise. not right or wrong, but some form of compromise. i liked that thought because absolutes are…well…not in my lexicon!
    great post that is surely relatable to every person at every age of life.

  5. Ginnie

    Nervous laughter from the peanut galleries all across the world. HA! Some of us may make decisions quicker than others, Petra, but all of us know what it feels like to make the "wrong" decisions. Lucky for me, I'm "mutable" enough by nature to be able to "fix" bad choices when I can. The thing is, it's definitely a learning process. It also helps if we don't always need instant gratification!
    What a fabulous image to accompany your always-provocative thoughts today!

  6. Maery Rose

    I also struggle with decisions, making one but then being influenced by someone else's opinion because, certainly, everyone knows more than I do. My Mini Cooper car purchase was the first automobile that I ignored other's opinions and went completely with what I wanted. It was the first time I really felt what it is like to make a good decision, one based on what I truly like.
    And as a friend and I recently discussed, it's good to remember that decisions, no matter how weighty, are not forever or unchangeable. You can decide one thing today and another tomorrow. Thinking that way helps take the weight off of making a decision. You don't have to feel like a choice is what you are stuck with forever.
    Great photo!

  7. Elena Caravela

    Petra, you are certainly, not alone. Someone suggested a helpful guide to me, and I use it every day; you can ask yourself, "Will this decision matter five years from now"? If not, free yourself to make a quick decision and know that it will be just fine.

  8. Barbara

    But Petra, you HAVE made the decision to accept and even, from your last sentence, I see, be grateful for the fact that you have choices before you. And there's a choice. Sometimes it's the only choice we have = and we always have that choice – which is to decide how we'll respond to any given thing before us – or what we've left behind. Acceptance. That's essential to peace. And it sounds to me like you've accepted this aspect of your psyche.
    And where, please, was this photo taken? That's spectacular and intriguing.

  9. Susan

    I really haven't struggled with this too much but that's not to say I don't regret some decisions that I've made! I do know for sure that this image is absolutely stunning!

  10. Susan@Life-Change-Compost

    Petra, thank you for your thoughtfulness in this article. For sure, you are not alone!
    Is there any way that you can let us know where your photograph was taken? It is absolutely stunning. I'd love to know the actual place…it almost looks like it could be part of Petra (your namesake?), the ancient city and incredible archeological site city in Jordan.

  11. Jennifer Richardson

    I can feel the pinched constriction you feel
    when faced with a high wall of rock hard choice.
    You express it so well.
    I wonder if it would help to actively cultivate hope
    that the only "wrong" choices still serve you well
    and whisper their wisdom
    long after chosen
    and so, really, the world is your sandbox
    and the decision-making more an act of hopeful play
    rather than a gavel coming down severe and final.
    I think it helps massage those stiff neck muscles
    to hope that there is love enough to cover
    whatever we choose. Does that sound too trite?
    I hope not….it isn't intended that way.
    I love getting to sit around this table with you:)

  12. Thank you so much for your kind comments and your points of view! They’ve brought an inspiration and hope to me. 🙂

    The photo was taken in the Czech Republic, in north-east Bohemia. There is an area called Adršpach Rock Town where you can see many interesting rock structures. We spent our family holiday there three years ago and found many interesting places in that location.

    I opted for this photo because in the huge rocks I saw the overwhelming possibilities, in their nearness I felt certain pressure which may accompany the decision making, in the path disappearing in the rocks I saw the unknown future following my decision. And yet the open gates were inviting me and telling me I need to enter and follow the path regardless of the disturbing feelings. I hope it sounds comprehensible!

  13. Catherine

    Petra I sense you are a very thoughtful person and this is why you are always weighing up the options. I've learned to embrace a bit of diving in there but I always reserve the right to change my mind later, which I often do! But that's Ok too, life is short. X

  14. Juli

    Oh, Petra, I so know what you mean! I find decision-making a slow process. Always have. You have clearly struck a chord here by reading all these amazing comments. I trained in the Myers-Briggs test (MBTI) a few years ago. One of the things they talk about in the course is decision-making…The big thing I learned about decision-making is, that for some people, it is about all the doors shutting, paths ending, options closing. For these people, decisions-making is about loss, and not about the joy of what lies ahead. For others, it's about relief from the decision-making process…make the decision and get on with things. Move forward. There is joy in the what comes next, and a feeling of relief. And, if it doesn't work out, make another decision. Such different approaches. And, very different feelings associated with each. No right. No wrong. Just different. And, to be honoured…which you have shown us so beautifully here, how to do.

  15. Linda

    Very interesting, Petra. I'm not much of a decision maker myself. I suspect that you are a perfectionist. Perfectionists don't necessarily do everything perfectly, but they believe that there is only one perfect way to do a thing. And that transfers over into making decisions. We (I think I have perfectionistic tendencies, too) think there is only one perfect choice, and we agonize over the decision as we try to find that one perfect choice. Often, though, the choice is between two equally good things. In the case of the books, it's likely that either book would have been a good choice.
    PS I forgot to mention the photograph. I love it! And I liked the explanation you gave of how it spoke to you.

  16. Carola

    Some decisions are easy for me, others not at all. I remember when I met my husband it took him forever to make a decision and it drove me crazy. Now I am used to his decision making process, and I have slowed down in mine a bit.
    The photo is fantastic. It makes me want to go there one day and see it for myself.

  17. SaucyKod

    I learned a long time ago to separate decision making between my home and work life.
    My work depended on snap decisions and I went with my experience and gut feeling.
    Worked out for me most of my life – not every decision is going to work and that is what
    life is all about – LEARNING, DECISIONS, LEARNING BY YOUR MISTAKES, BEING AWARDED FOR THE RIGHT DECISIONS – IT'S ALL CALLED EXPERIENCE AND DEAR PETRA – life is just one big experience of decision making. I also love your photo. 🙂

  18. Gotham Girl Aka Robin

    Beautiful image and thanks for sharing more about it on FB! I've never had issues with making the decisions…now listening to my gut/heart/head (whatever you want to call it) now that's a different story!

  19. RuneE

    In other words; you are like the rest of us. On the other hand; if you don not take chances, do not regard failure as an option – you will not learn anything. Maybe the t-shirt wasn't perfect, but maybe you can use it for something or someone else?

  20. Sarah Laurence

    You make me laugh. I spent way too much time picking new prescription glasses and now, after picking them up, I'm wondering if I made the right choice! I love your photo too – a good metaphor.

  21. Cosmos

    I can relate to you, Petra. I have vacillated before decision-making. However, like some of the comments here say, I know the consequence of one decision-making isn't the end of the whole story. I believe there's nothing to be wasted in whatever choice. It's a learning process of our life.

  22. Kate

    Petra I love your explanation for your photo choice, the overwhelming range of possibilities. I too struggle with decisions, some more than others ( usually the ones that seem to 'matter' more are hardest & maybe constant reframing is what makes these so difficult). Thank you for this beautiful, so thoughtful, and so true post.

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