Being in or being out

Ever been faced with a decision that you’re sitting on the fence about? Or perhaps it’s just easier to remain indecisive? Maybe it’s always worked for you and maybe it always will. Maybe you think it’s always worked for you but instead you’ve just sterilised the flavour of life.

I’ve spent a lifetime being unsure and making very slow decisions disguised as ‘being sure’. My friends only have to testify to the countless hours we’ve spent standing in front of a McDonald’s menu that hasn’t changed in ten years.

My initial hunger for a cheeseburger suddenly turned into a critical analysis of my taste buds, mood, the length of the line, my future plans and the current socio-economic climate. Sure it’s all about risk assessment, strategy and preparedness – which are all important qualities for a day out on the boat but it’s not a universal application for life.

Some of my most memorable times in life were due to spontaneous and irrational decisions whilst the most forgettable moments were structured and planned to the nth degree.

When you jump off a diving board, if you back out half way through you could end up hurting yourself more than if you just went over the edge – and you still might fall over anyway. Besides, once you’re over the edge it’s obvious there’s bugger all you can do to change what happens next. Jumping off a diving board = you’re either in or your out.

When you make a dash across a busy street, sure you might get hit, but you might not. If you pause half way across you’re almost certain to be hit. Running across a busy road = you’re either in or your out.

There’s always that sense of euphoria and relief after making a decision. Whether it’s deciding on your lunch order, buying a new pair of shoes, booking a ticket, quitting your job or even just changing the channel.

You sit there for that brief period with the glow of making a decision, but then come the thoughts and feelings of regret or satisfaction. “Will I like it?”, “What if it doesn’t work out?” versus  “I’m so glad I did this”, “I wish I did this sooner” etcetera.

The irony is, once the decision is made, you’re already in free-fall. The wheels are in motion and you can’t stop what happens next so hold on!

But for those who then fall ‘victim’ to their decisions, I have some bad news for you. In nearly every circumstance, you’ve already chosen the outcome based on your commitment to the decision. Said a reluctant yes to a party you don’t really want to go to? Chances are that you’ll have a crap time if you expect to. Bought a pair of shoes you can’t really afford? It’s amazing how you can justify $300 shoes but not your phone bill.

It’s easy to avoid making decisions of being in or out. One might think they’re avoiding the pain of making the ‘wrong’ one but they’re also missing the joy of making the ‘right’ one’. To your friends, you’re just that annoying fence sitter who won’t decide. Yes you read that correctly, WON’T decide.

The problem with fence sitters is that they end up living in this weird void of indecision, stashing away their ‘coupons to opportunity’ without realising they expire almost immediately.

A tip for those still fence sitting about this blog post: It’s not the same as objectivity and it doesn’t buy you respect, personal depth or a meaningful life. So I urge you to be for or against – but don’t be a donkey vote.

 

So this is what I’ve learned:

If you feel that you cannot be 100% ‘in’, then don’t do it and own your decision.

If you feel that you can be 100% in, then jump in head first and own your decision.

But whatever you do, don’t fluff around being half in and out.

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