It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do.
― Elbert Hubbard

decision boggle _opt

It’s called BOGGLE for a reason.

 

Have you ever played the game WOULD YOU RATHER?

Would you rather drive a moped across a tight rope OR go over Niagara Falls in a barrel?

Would you rather drink black coffee OR eat dry cereal?

It’s almost always funny or absurd scenarios, for which there is no right answer.

Because it’s just a game.  Real life however, requires decisions all the time. Some of course, require little effort.

Paper or plastic?  Do you want butter on your popcorn? Would you like to try the smoothie of the week?

But some decisions feel HUGE and require research and thought.

 brochures mail college decisions_opt

Some of the mail my kids have been getting from colleges. 

 

It’s easy to feel buried under the brochures of possibilities and decisions.  I feel like that when it comes to my writing–the decisions that need to be made in editing and publishing.

Or what about the tricky decisions that impact family or friends?  Or decisions about health?

Recently I’ve been grappling with the issue of a new medication.  Do I want to deal with the crappy side effects or the crappy symptoms for which I’m on it in the first place?

It feels like someone is asking me if I want to eat squid or  snails.

Honestly, I don’t want to eat either.

 

 Decisions, decisions. 

When it comes to decision-making, we hear go with your gut, but then are advised to be careful of emotion.  Some say take your time and others say make the leap.  We need to check our history, but stay in the present and oh wait, don’t forget the future!

What do you do?

 

I guess it’s a little of everything–our gut, our emotion, revisiting the past, thinking it through (a pros and cons list can help here) and even taking the leap, because eventually we have to decide.

 

It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions.

~Jim Rohn

Progress is good  (even baby steps).  

But, okay, not ALL decision-making turns out stellar.  Like the time my husband decided, yes, he DID want to try the smoothie of the week.  The flavor?  Peanut butter and jelly.

My hubby now has strong opinions about PB & J belonging between two slices of bread.

Progress, right?

bad decisions funny story

How do you make decisions?  Playing the game–if you had to choose, would you rather be PARANOID for the rest of your life or NAIVE?

I love it when you comment!

Have a GREAT week.

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70 thoughts on “There is No One Right Answer, but Decision Determines Everything

  1. bethvogt

    Love you posts — and thanks for forcing me to make a decision the first thing Monday morning.
    I’m going with naive.
    I think.
    Yeah, naive.
    Paranoia is exhausting! And no fun.

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      I guess I should’ve offered everyone some caffeine first. 🙂
      And i’m with you on the naive. My hub picked paranoid, but I don’t like the idea of never trusting someone.
      Thanks Beth!

  2. August McLaughlin

    First off, I LOVE your shoe art. I also love this post.

    When making decisions, I usually do my best to listen to my gut (may be a pun there about squid or snails… ;)). Then I often talk to my husband, exercise and “sleep on it.” I’ve learned that making decisions in the midst of confused frustration doesn’t work—for me, anyway. The answers become pretty clear if I let them.
    August McLaughlin recently posted..“Am I Happier Single?” Learning to Love and Hyper-SensitivityMy Profile

  3. Susanna Leonard Hill

    That is not even a hard question! I would not want to be paranoid and I already am naive 🙂 As for making decisions, though, I’m TERRIBLE at it. I can weigh pros and cons, well, like a pro 🙂 And I know exactly how you feel about those college brochures. Why do you think we visited 21? 🙂

  4. Catherine Johnson

    I wish you were talking about nicer decisions, that must be hard. I am the world’s worst decision maker, not to be confused with procrastinator, I am convinced there is a subtle difference lol.

  5. Natalie Hartford

    I think you are right Coleen. It takes a little bit of everything: your gut, thoughts, pros/cons, etc to make a decision. I try to really weigh all the options and possible consequences. If it’s a biggee, I talk to the “people” in my life like hubby and my Mom. But in the end, I try to remind myself of this: there are no mistakes in life. Every choice, decision and action presents you with the opportunity to learn and grow. Sometimes easy. Sometimes painful. But in the end, it’s all just a leap of faith. Trust in yourself and trust that if you decide something one day, you can always change your mind the next. No, you can’t always “undo” something but you can always decide something else to change direction.
    Natalie Hartford recently posted..He is the deet in my Deep Woods OffMy Profile

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      You’re right, talking to loved ones is good advice. And so is changing your mind. When my kids are struggling with a not so monumental decision, I usually tell them that they can decide and then try again if it wasn’t the choice for them. 🙂 Thanks Natalie!

  6. Julie Hedlund

    I’d take naive too, since it’s more likely a happier life. I find that with the really big decisions, it ultimately comes down to my gut and my heart. If I shut up long enough to listen to them, I find the answer is already there. But that’s only after a whole bunch of angsting and general misery – LOL.

  7. Patricia Titon

    It depends on the decision. If it is something I feel I need to ponder, and listen from within at some point I know what to do. If it’s not life changing or worth the time thinking about it, I just make a decision and go with it. Nice post and photos. Love the shoes.

  8. Jennette Marie Powell

    I research everything to death, and sleep on it, too! Knowledge is power and all that. It would be nice to be more spontaneous sometimes; OTOH I haven’t made a lot of bad choices.

    My daughter is in the college decision mode too. Any college that doesn’t innumdate her with tons of mail and email gets extra points.

    And for the question I pick paranoid. All we have to do to get there is read the news – every day there’s something new that will kill us!

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      I am with you on the giving out extra points for less mail. It’s nuts.
      And it’s not just the news, I don’t even like to read health magazines because they make me so paranoid!
      🙂

  9. Stacy S. Jensen

    Easy. Where people are concerned naive. Several issues arose this morning that have made me pause and reconsider my class load decision this semester. I’m off see how the class feels in person. I’m mostly a “go with your gut” type person. I sympathize with the medication issue. Hubby’s doc recommended Gluten free. While it’s been a challenge, he’s noticing a difference in how he feels. So, I’m trying to eat every type of GF pizza crust he wants to try. I wasn’t so enthusiastic this weekend, but need to get back on the program.
    Stacy S. Jensen recently posted..Thankful Thursday: SCBWIMy Profile

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      I haven’t found a GF pizza crust I like, yet, I guess. I did have a GF squash casserole that was labeled pizza casserole. It was basically sauce and cheese on top, but it was tasty. But maybe that’s because it’s been so long since I had pizza. 🙂
      On the other hand, I have had LOTS of luck with GF cupcakes!

  10. Patricia

    The shoe planter wall is totally creative and cool! I want one.

    As far as being naive or paranoid, I’m not sure. I think I’d rather be naive, but wait, no maybe that’s wrong. I’m so afraid to decide, but on the other hand what I don’t know can’t hurt me. Or can it? Maybe I do need to know, but then it might scare me. But at least I’d know. But if I didn’t know I wouldn’t be scared.

    See what you started? May I have another decision please? I’ll take candy for 1,000 Alex. Would I rather have chocolate or sweet tarts?

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  11. Leigh Covington

    How so I even answer this? I am a spontaneous person. I’m the person who’ll just JUMP! It suits me well, but it hasn’t always served me well. Sometimes, yes. Other times, no. While I do see the benefit of evaluating the consequences of decisions, I tend to be a worry wart- so I find the most ridiculous, horrific outcomes in everything. That’s why I hate having time to think it over. If I want to – I just do it, and hope for the best 🙂

  12. Melanie

    Absolutely naive. I work in such a field of paranoia that I would love to be clueless for a while.

  13. Nickie Anderson

    Interesting post! I sympathize with your kids and the college decisions — I remember being completely overwhelmed by the mail and brochures, by every adult in my life encouraging me to go to a different college or try a different major. Those are tough choices to make.

    And I love the aphorism that bad decisions make good stories (but maybe don’t tell your kids that when they apply for college!)

    For your final ‘would you rather’ question: I’d rather be paranoid. I’m a conspiracy theorist by nature — it seems like the better fit 🙂

    1. Coleen Patrick

      Hello fellow conspiracy theorist!
      I didn’t have the big college decisions like my kids seem to do now. Probably because back then I was so naive that I just applied where I wanted to go with very little thought. It didn’t work out so great as a method, but in hindsight I’m glad it worked the way it did. 🙂

  14. Emily R. King

    I can be really impulsive sometimes, but I try to go with my gut. I’m not someone who’s big on feeding emotions, so this works for me. But sometimes, I just have to let loose and try something knew, consequences be damned. (This has happened less since I became a mother. Darn responsibility.)

  15. Louise Behiel

    good question, Coleen. If I try to analyze or think about a decision for too long, I get sick. I’m way better off to go with my gut. Interesting, I can’t remember regretting a major decision, but then could be I’m in total denial, too. LOL

  16. susielindau

    Love this post! I remember this well. It all went back to the kids and they chose. It is funny how it worked out. They get a feel for where they should be.
    Hang in there Mom! It is a crazy time.
    Loved your photos!

  17. Lynette M. Burrows

    Naive. It’s what I know. I tend to do a little of everything when trying to come to a decision, including eenie meanie miney moe! Some decisions I research to the ‘Nth’ degree. But even then, I am learning to listen to my gut at least as well as the research. There are just some decisions that you lean toward and some you lean away. As long as I’m staying away from the childish – I just want what I want feelings – following my gut is usually the best thing to do. Good luck.
    Lynette M. Burrows recently posted..A Home Grown Power Plotting WeekendMy Profile

  18. Alarna Rose Gray

    Hey Coleen – I, too, love your shoe art 🙂 And thanks for the mind boggle! Paranoid can be a pain (mostly to others, I think?). But still, I’d always rather know…. 🙂

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      It’s definitely a tricky decision. I don’t want to NOT trust people, but then you kinda want to know if someone is messing with you.
      Thanks Alarna 🙂

  19. Julie Glover

    I am a very slow decision-maker by nature. I gather so much information that I’m drowning in it; then I spend days, weeks, or months sifting through it all in my head; and finally, finally I decide. At least that’s how I manage big decisions. I recommend throwing caution to the wind more often than that. I have been making a concerted effort in recent years to make choices more quickly. It’s working out fine from what I can tell.

    Of course, sometimes I just have a strong gut feeling, and I go with that.

  20. 4amWriter

    Interesting post. My nephew is married to a German girl, and they came to visit the States this summer. We were out to eat at a restaurant, and I asked her how she liked American food. She said it was okay, but what was hardest for her were all the choices, the different types of cheese, bread, side dishes that you’re expected to make in ordering. Even ordering a breakfast sandwich creates anxiety for her. Apparently in Germany (and probably across Europe et al) choices are limited therefore making decisions much easier.

    Food for thought. 🙂

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      I would agree with that–i don’t have much trouble deciding what to eat because I can’t eat just anything anymore. When choices are limited, decisions come quicker! 🙂

  21. Marcy Kennedy

    There are a lot of benefits to being paranoid 😉

    As for how to make decisions, I don’t have a clue how to answer that. Everyone seems to think their way is right and other people’s ways are wrong. I’m an INTJ, which means that I don’t like being pushed into a decision before I have all the necessary information to make the best logical choice. To people who go with their gut or feelings on decisions, I seem indecisive because I refuse to make a snap judgment or give my opinion on something before I’ve had time to think it through. Truth is, I have no trouble making decisions. I simply want the proper amount of time to research my options. My experience has been that this process leads to better decisions than when someone leaps first and deals with the consequences later. But the other side would have a very different story to tell I’m sure 🙂
    Marcy Kennedy recently posted..Cinderella Strong – Guest Post by August McLaughlinMy Profile

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      I don’t like being pushed into decisions either, but that might stem from control issues. I don’t like to feel like someone else has got a hold of my steering wheel.
      Thanks Marcy 🙂

  22. Debra Kristi

    I agree with Julie. I believe we already know the answer, it’s all a matter of allowing ourselves to hear it. Sometimes that’s the hardest thing of all. It can be so final. Wonderful post, Coleen. Love the shoe art. I think I recently pinned something like that in pinterest. And I laughed out loud at your husband’s smoothie. Poor guy. Lessons hard learned are not easily forgotten.
    Debra Kristi recently posted..YA Reads and YAmondAYMy Profile

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Thank you Debra! The shoe art photo was taken in Israel. It was in these really old stone corridors on the coast up near the border of Lebanon. They even had purses as planters. 🙂

  23. Reetta Raitanen

    Awesome question, Coleen. I’m sorry to hear about the medication. I hope you find a solution that works for you. I too prefer naive to paranoid. And procrastination can tie into decision making. If you wait long enough, some non-important issues just go away. Or the plan changes so doing that thing is no longer necessary. I can easily make some decisions right away but sometimes I need time to think and weight pros and cons. Not that it makes it any easier…
    Reetta Raitanen recently posted..Link Feast For Writers, vol. 20My Profile

  24. Laurel

    Great reflections on the decision-making process. And I agree with others that being naive sounds a lot more peaceful than being paranoid.

  25. Ron B.

    I would choose naive but with the following condition: You do allow conditions? right? I mean I heard someone mention we could have conditions, no?…Well I think you let other people have conditions, why not me?!? Now I’m feeling paranoid

    1) I would go with naive as long as once I made that choice, I would magically be unaware of how naive I was – otherwise, I would be paranoid that others would pick up on it immediately and always take advantage of me. Oh forget it! I’m picking paranoid! 😉

  26. Pat O'Dea Rosen

    Put me in the “naive” column. I like to think I’ve retained a sense of wonder rather than am easy to fool. That said, I live in a city and get email updates from the constables who patrol a seven-neighborhood area. Yesterday, one homeowner stopped an armed man from breaking in, a purse was snatched from the passenger seat of a parked car, and after a house was burglarized, neighbors reported seeing two unfamiliar older kids with backpacks walking away from the house. I read these things and know I’ll be suspicious of the next backpack wearer I see, even if she’s kindergarten age. Yet when I start to unsubscribe from the list, I stop because I WANT TO KNOW what’s going on around me. Okay, put me down as “naive” AND “paranoid.”

  27. stephanie

    Does not making a decision at all count? I avoid a lot of decisions, either by ignoring them until they’re no longer relevent, or else by deferring to someone else. Man, that makes me sound so wishy-washy.

    1. Coleen Patrick

      No, not wishy washy. Well, according to me seeing as I’ve been known to ignore something until the decision window is closed. What’s that quote? Something about to not decide IS to decide? So in that case, we are making decisions!
      Thanks for coming by Stephanie–I miss your clay posts!

  28. Lynn Kelley

    Coleen, I sure have missed reading your awesome posts. I love the topics you come up with, and your photos rock. Especially that shoe garden! Did you plant that? How unique. To answer the last question, I guess I’d rather be paranoid for the rest of my life rather than naive, although I already am paranoid half the time, but yet so naive about so many things! Go figure!

    1. Coleen Patrick

      It seems we’re all a mix of paranoid and naive, which makes it hard to choose.:)
      That shoe planter photo was taken in Israel this summer. It’s so cute and pretty–had to get a pic.
      Thanks Lynn!!

  29. Karen McFarland

    Ah, my mother used to say, “He who hesitates is lost.” I don’t think she was the originator of this little tidbit, but it makes so much sense, doesn’t it? I hear ya on the medication. Which is better, the symptom or the side effect. There are just. Too. Many. Decisions. to make in this life. And as we get older, they become more crucial, like if you make the wrong decision, it might end up screwing everything up for the rest of your life. What is that all about Coleen? We are on information overload and sometimes we need a time out. Children complain about this, but if they only knew how much we would like to take one. LOL! 🙂
    Karen McFarland recently posted..R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Just a Little Bit…My Profile

    1. Coleen Patrick

      Information overload is right! And yes, I wouldn’t mind if some super nanny came in right now and sent me to the corner for a time out. Ha ha.
      This is why I’m always telling my kids to stop being in a hurry to grow up. They don’t realize the amount of responsibility that comes with being an adult. Oh well, the circle of life and all that.
      Thank you Karen 🙂

  30. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen

    Hi, Coleen!! I’ve been meaning to make it over here for some time! Love you blog!! It really provokes some thought! I think I begin decision making with my head stuck in the sand.. pretending there isn’t anything to decide. Finally a loved one will come and prod me, make suggestions and then I choose the most natural path of least resistance. I’ve had hip pain for about a year.. finally went to a specialist.. no hip replacement needed. Then a physiotherapist.. then another physiotherapist. Still no cure. I finally went to a chiropractor.. he nailed the problem and I have been gradually more and more pain free.. I can’t believe I waited this long to solve this! Good luck with your health decision!! xx smidge

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Hi back!
      Love when there’s a good ending to a decision story, even when it takes a few tries. 🙂 And especially glad you are moving toward pain free! Pain can often easly be an all consuming obstacle–ugh.
      I like decisions that have room for wiggle and changing your mind and figuring it out as you go. I find myself telling my kids they can try again in a lot of cases. That’s kind of where I’m at right now, looking to make the next choice!
      Thanks smidge 😉

  31. Kristy Shen

    Another great post!

    Ah, decisions decisions. I’m terrible at making them. My hubby once found me in the veggie isle, hyperventilating over two different types of tomatoes. Yeah. Decisions are not my thing.

    I love love your shoe flower pots. So creative!

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