What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
The great philosopher and baseball player, Yogi Berra, described this state of indecision and gave sage advice when he said, “when you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
Not knowing what to do can take various forms, including:
- two or more great options – yes, theoretically we love having choices, but in real life, more menu items to select from is not necessarily easier.
- two or more terrible options – this is the scenario that begat the phrase, “jumping from the frying pan into the fire.” If you’ve burned yourself on a frying pan, you know why the guy jumped.
- confused by the facts – ETFs, ETNs, IRAs, Roth IRAs, 401Ks – have you figured out the best retirement investment options for your golden years?
- the future is unknown – duh! – of course we know that, but this variation of confused by facts still catches us by surprise and stymie our decision-making. This factor has also created the sport of second-guessing the stupidity of others based on our 20/20 hindsight. And as a publisher I can attest there are plenty of books that have been written by people who have caught lightning in a bottle and looked back and described in detail how they engineered their success – even if they had no clue what they were doing at the time.
- conflicting feedback – I’m not sure if it’s scarier when the people I trust unanimously agree with what I want to do – or when it is a hung jury.
- fear of failure – *spoiler alert* – aren’t you just a little suspicious of anyone that promises you a path or program that insures success – like a sure-fire way to pick the right stock every time? (If that was possible, why would someone that rich waste time selling a program to me?) If you are a perfectionist, decisions just got more than a little bit tougher.
- decision fatigue – there are business dynamos that have no problem making million dollar decisions all day but have a blank stare and no ideas when asked where to go for dinner. Decisions take energy. If you’ve been working 12 hour days to finish up a project, it might not be the best time to rush out and buy a new car you can’t afford.