Mr. Serious gets a daily email news letter from Dan Miller. They provide inspiration. They are meant to help you realize that you shouldn’t settle. That you should be happy in everything.
The quote from yesterday he immediately passed on to me. And, it’s too darn good not to share.
Because, you see, I’m stuck right now. I’m the ass in the middle that can’t move. I can’t make a serious decision that has the potential to change my life. Our lives in a good way.
Here’s the story from No More Dreaded Mondays by Dan Miller:
You may know the medieval logic dilemma of the donkey that is placed equidistant from two piles of food of equal size and quality—a perfectly symmetrical situation. If the behavior of the donkey were completely rational, it would have no reason to prefer one pile to the other; therefore, it could not decide which pile to eat first. So it would remain in its original position and starve to death. This dilemma is called “Buridan’s ass.”
I find many people immobilized by the challenge of choosing—even if both choices are attractive. Two great schools, two great jobs, two great business ideas. In my graduate psychology brainstorming groups, we would create what-if scenarios. What if the donkey, aware that he is starving, flips a coin to make a choice? which pile of food is heads and which is tails? Ah yes, another decision.
If you are looking at two opportunities, how do you ultimately make the decision? If you are considering moving to Denver or Miami, how do you make that call? If you have been accepted by Harvard and the Peace Corps, which will help you choose?
The trick is there aren’t two choices here, there are three: If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. It’s just as obvious a choice as either of the new options. So you may as well make it interesting by changing the scenery.
Remember this sequence for making a choice: (1) Clearly state the issue. (2) Get the advice and opinions of others. (3) List your options. (4) Choose the best option. (5) Act. And I recommend no more than two weeks for this process – no matter how big the decision.
Don’t be a donkey; you just might starve as a result of your indecision. And indecision in one area will cripple your effectiveness in all other areas.
I don’t want to be stuck. I want to make a decision, but I just can’t. It’s been on my mind, our minds for several weeks, maybe even months. Yet, here I sit, unable to budge. Unable to walk to one side or the other.
So, I’ve got the sequence down…
1) Can state the issue (not ready to put it out there, yet for the interwebs.)
2) I’ve asked some people…but no clear answers for me.
3) I’ve listed my options.
4) I can’t chose the best option.
5) Act? Nope, can’t get there yet!
I’m just missing something. If only one of those food piles looked just a little more enticing. I guess what I’m saying is, I sure which somebody would decide for me…so, if it doesn’t work out, I can blame them!
How do you make huge decisions? What am I missing? Give me your hints. Guide me!