Quick! It's Time to Rush to Judgement
Why snap decisions can sometimes win out over due consideration
You hear people talking about making snap judgments as if it is a bad thing. Sometimes choosing quickly is the prudent choice. There, I said it.
Of course I am not advocating reckless impulsivity or any ill-advised dipping into dangerous waters that might get you in trouble or injure your relationships. But I am from this point forward declaring that I am not going to torture myself or agonize over the menial life choices that arrive before me 100,000 times per day. I am going to be swift, decisive and move on. Next!
Not that I will close my eyes and pick what is closest to my hand, but I am not going to spend my brain power or well-earned leisure time doing a back and forth on this one or that one, maybe that one over there, oh no, look way over yonder! I’m just going to decide.
My recent decision to go rogue on deciding slowly may be a result of far too often standing behind people in line who cannot decide what movie to see, or overhearing people on the phone deliberating for several minutes on where to order lunch.
This may also be in recognition of my privilege of having just too darn many choices for everything — from channels to watch, to types of coffee to order, what size, what flavor and what intensity.
I do believe in the well-examined life and I am not committing imbecilic actions for the sake of getting it all over with as soon as possible. I am just determined not to waste any more of my time drowning in options that do not make that much of a difference. I do not have to drive myself mad with the nuances of color palette options in the paint store. I do not have to reduce the choices to the primary colors, but I seriously do not have to put that much energy into deciding between eggshell or cream latte.I will pick off-white and call it a day. OK, I do not want to travel back in time to when there were five TV channels, fewer restaurants that delivered, and one or two department stores, with nothing on-line. But I acknowledge that the deliriously abundant offerings anytime, anywhere, requiring me to do research on whether this one or that one would work better, is making me anxious. The plethora of options has me rebelling against the onus of decision-making foisted upon all of us every day.
I recently was contemplating buying a top to go with a favorite skirt for a wedding and typed “turquoise silk blouse” into Google search. I was bombarded with as many options as there are residents of Wheaton. I decided to go instead with the black blouse I already own that looks just fine. And as my sister Madeleine reminded me about my attire at the wedding, “No one is looking at you anyway.” I quickly decided she’s right.
In my new streamlining of snappy choices, I have eliminated the anxiety I feel in many scenarios. Now when I am in a bookstore, I decide instead to go in with the title I want to purchase, rendered from the book review I read and decided I liked, find the book, perhaps dawdle with a few other options, but stick with the decision to buy the one book I had chosen ahead of time. In a new restaurant, I will mentally set a timer and give myself five minutes to peruse the menu and perhaps ask the server for a recommendation, and then just go with my gut. No back and forth, asking what kind of sauce is on it, are there substitutes and is it fresh today? I pick with alacrity and eat what I picked. No regrets.
Well, at least not many regrets. Yes, in my newfound decisiveness I admit I have made mistakes. I have picked terrible movies and made friends suffer through them. I have chosen restaurants based on proximity and felt disappointed all the way home, and I have absolutely bought the wrong shoes.
The fine print on my new declaration of decisiveness is that I can be swift on decisions that pertain only to me, but I acknowledge that if there is a ripple effect, I have to spend more time contemplating. I can’t decide to run off to Cabo on a whim if I have promised to help a friend who needs me.
My choices have consequences at home, at work, with friends. That’s as it should be. It would be worrisome if I made choices for myself all day and night, not thinking they might matter to others. But I can decide that I will not ruminate, and instead be intentional, mindful and fast. Assuredly, life is not always like a fast food drive-through. Nor is it always an elaborate 20-course meal. But the point is I can decide. If I’m lucky.Edit Module