Why There’s No Such Thing as “The Right Decision”
Photo courtesy of Kyle Pearce.

Why There’s No Such Thing as “The Right Decision”

Written by Bev Webb

Topics: Life

Frank Sinatra sang, “Regrets, I’ve had a few”, but should we regret the decisions we’ve made?

Hindsight is both fascinating and cruel, as it taunts us with what might have been. It reminds of those game shows where the contestants lose on the final challenge but the host still ushers them forward to take a look at the prizes they could have won.

Multipotentialites have a lot of decisions to make. With so many options available to us when it comes to careers, businesses, interests, and projects, we often end up in the paradox of choice, unable to make a decision, and fearful of making the wrong choice..

There’s no such thing as a right decision.

The thing is, we all make decisions all the time and decisions are just decisions. Period. What happens next, and how that choice works out, is down to a whole range of variables beyond the control of any individual decision.

The film Sliding Doors explores the different outcomes of one single seemingly insignificant event. In one telling of the story, the lead character catches a train. In the other, she misses the train. The film explores someone’s life as seen in two parallel universes. It shows the twists and turns both for the best and the worst, which show that it’s impossible to know how a single event or choice will turn out.

Regrets are fickle beasts.

The thing is, you can’t know how a decision will pan out until you’ve made it and followed through on it. Then hindsight kicks in and you make value judgements about whether or not it was the right decision to make.

I wish I’d majored in science rather than arts.

OR

I wish I’d majored in arts rather than science.

I should never have taken that corporate job straight out of college. I should have started my own business and instead.

OR

I should never have started my own business straight out of college. I should have taken that corporate job instead.

You just don’t know which way things will turn out until you do them. We make the best decisions we can based on our knowledge and circumstances at the time. Both of these are variables which are subject to change, and you can’t figure into your decision making every possible outcome or unexpected curve ball.

That’s a lot of unfair responsibility to place on a single decision.

Then there’s the hard-to-quantify information such as emotion, desire, intuition, or gut-feeling. You’re not a computer processing data; you’re a human weighing up the pros and cons, and coming down in favour of one over the other.

It’s a process of give and take, where you decide which are the must-have aspects and which you’re prepared to compromise on.

Over to you!

Do you regret any decisions you’ve made in the past? Could you have known how things were going to turn out?

bevBev is an artist, creativity coach and founder of Kickass Creatives, a website offering practical support to frustrated creatives. She’s over 20 years of working in the arts: experimenting with everything from performing in a fire circus and managing a hiphop dance company, through to web consultancy and jewellery design. Bev is passionate about using her experience to enable others to fully develop (rather than hide) their multitude of talents too. Connect with her on Twitter @creativekickass.

9 Comments

  1. Andy says:

    Yes Bev! Such an important point. I have tried to develop a ‘commitment mindset’ over the past year or so because I have struggled with this wrong choice syndrome. Making a choice is the only real choice, and then once I’ve made it I commit to it. Understanding that a) you can’t do everything but you can do something, and b) there is never a perfect option, makes it easier. Especially as a multipotentialite this feels important because I experience the pressure of options – there are so many things that I want to do that it can be paralysing and result in the doing of nothing.

    Thanks for this. You may have inspired a blog post of my own! :)

    • April says:

      Andy, I know just what you mean – I also suffer from a paralysing inability to decide between options at times. I have been trying to train myself to make a ‘clean’ choice (not too much over-thinking or unnecessary compromising with myself), and then to run with it without looking back too much. As Bev says, life gives us opportunities to change direction if we really have gone wrong, and as multipotentialites we are better placed than many to take advantage of that!

  2. Bev Webb says:

    Hi Andy
    Yey – making a choice is the only real choice! I like the way you’ve phrased that, it sums it up so well. It’s so easy to get stuck in choice paralysis, not knowing which is the “right” choice.

    Few decisions in life are finite – most offer the chance to change direction later on. Maybe we should create a motto along the lines of “When in doubt…just choose!” :)

  3. Nicole says:

    Until recently…until I discovered I am a multipotentialite!…I regretted not following through on a lot of my interests or potential interests and paths, and also regretted following certain paths instead of others.
    I now realise that I have actually created an impressive ‘body of work’ (thank you Emilie for introducing me to Pam Slim!).
    Now I’m excited about tying it all together, and making good use of all the paths I followed. Also, creating opportunities to follow up on the ones I didn’t previously. Whooo!

    • Bev Webb says:

      Hey Nicole!
      Yey, I’m all for the “body of work” school of thought! It gets rid of the niggling feeling we “should” be specializing if we ever want to feel like we’ve achieved. :)

  4. Luke says:

    Bev,
    The only regrets I have are if time wasted, of which there is plenty. Thanks for the great read!

    • Bev Webb says:

      Hi Luke
      Glad you enjoyed it! I frequently remind myself that the time I have that’s not productive, focused or strategic actually provides much needed downtime, time to think things through (often unconsciously), and so is not in fact wasted.

      I also believe that there can be a right time and place for things to happen. Getting your headspace and resources aligned can take some doing. :)

  5. Natalie S says:

    This is a very timely reminder for me. I’ve been a little plagued lately with worrying whether or not I’ve made that “right” decision… but you’re so correct! It’s impossible to know; only hindsight is 20/20. It’s rather freeing though, isn’t it? If you look at it differently… thanks for this, Bev!

    • Bev Webb says:

      Hey Natalie
      Yep, hindsight is both a wonderful and a terrible thing. We can only ever make decisions based on “now” – how they’ll work out in the future nobody knows. :)

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