Are you constantly struggling to make the best decisions? When you are faced with making a decision, it often feels like you are in limbo. Indecision can cause incredible anxiety in your body. Your mind is trying to rationalize each choice, while your emotions are pulling you in both directions and creating confusion. Decision-making is probably one of the most exhausting activities our mind has to encounter.
The reason you have a hard time making decisions isn’t only because you don’t know what you want, but there is a fear of making the wrong decision. You want to avoid that feeling of regret or disappointment after you see a decision you have made played out in a way that you didn’t want. When you are in decision-limbo, you can rest there and avoid making any tragic mistakes that you will beat yourself up over later.
The 8-Second Rule. You aren’t really making the decisions anyway. The latest scientific research reveals that your brain processes a decision an average of eight-seconds BEFORE you consciously choose to act. Then, your ego mind will make up a story to rationalize the decision and why you chose a certain path, but the justification really has nothing to do with the decision at all. There is an unconscious part of you driving the decisions of your life, created by past conditioning that pre-chooses your fate automatically. All that time you spend ruminating is wasted because it won’t affect your decision anyway and obsessing after the fact about bad decisions is just as useless.
Is there a way to make conscious decisions that aren’t driven by our conditioning? We know the decisions we make are pre-conditioned, but we also know there is a lot of energy and emotions that come up when we are in decision-mode. Instead of trying to make a rational decision through logic when the conditioning has already made the choice, the best bet is to go into the emotions that are stirred up inside when you are faced with the choice in the moment.
Unconscious decisions made by past conditioning will give you a sense of relief and are typically safer choices for the ego. Conscious decisions made by your true self will be mixed with anxiety and excitement and they lead to growth, new experiences and more life. The mind is in a constant battle between the desire for growth or the conditioned response to retreat in safety.
Here is an example of how decisions can be influenced by conditioning. If you are wondering if you should stay in your same job that is stable or to pursue a new business which is going to be challenging and scary, your conditioning mind (ego) will always push you toward the safe choice – stay where you are! You can wrestle with the choices but, if your conditioning to be safe is stronger than the part of you that is motivated by adventure, you will choose to stay in the secure job. No matter how much you mull around in your mind with the pros and cons, you will always choose security over an exciting new path.
This also happens in love and dating. If you are deciding whether you want to go out with someone again, your conditioning will choose what you have always chosen. The same type of person will be attractive to you and no matter how logical and “good on paper” the candidate is, the ego will choose the same pattern of relationships. The unconscious mind can read a person who fits with your pattern or who doesn’t and will generate feelings of chemistry or repulsion that will drive your choice.
There is an emotional charge that pushes you in one direction or another that is revealing your conditioning. This emotion can help you identify the conditioning in action so that you can make more conscious choices in the future.
Exercise: Close your eyes and identify the feeling that is charged when you think about the decision. Ask yourself, “What would I choose if I wasn’t afraid?” Drop all the stories around the decision and logical analysis and see if you can find that part of you that isn’t afraid, that pure consciousness that wants you to grow and have more life.
When you don’t let fear drive your decisions, you will start to make them outside of your old patterns and can create new pathways in your life.
The process of becoming aware takes time. The more you work with the feelings that arise when you make decisions, the more you can make the unconscious conscious and connect with your inner wisdom to guide you to the highest expression of yourself. This is the only way to free yourself from the past and create the life you want.