We have at some point in our life been in a place where we fear what others will think of our decision that we become paralyzed and can’t move forward. Other times we allow the fear of how our action will affect others to the point we completely avoid the entire situation. The truth is we are making decisions every day of our lives be they intentional and unintentional. We will be faced with a plethora of decisions to make some more important than others, some with little or no consequences while others will have grave consequences. The decision we make now will have an impact on our lives most of which we won’t know when we choose to or not to decide a course of action. It is ok to have what-if questions but then be self-reflective to get to the root of your what-if questions and ensure you are asking them for the right reasons and not from a place of fearing to make the wrong decision.
There is a world of difference between taking time to weigh your decision and being so ridden with fear that you avoid the decision process altogether. The later is a sign that you suffer from decidophobia, the fear of making the wrong decision. Fear is a natural part of life, but phobias are characterized by a disproportionate intensity. Decidophobia is a term coined by Princeton philosopher Walter Kaufmann in his 1973 book Without Guilt and Justice. Just like all other phobias, this is a real disorder that you can overcome (You can click here to take the decidophobia test. Should you have it, I advise you seek professional help).
Some symptoms of decidophobia include but not limited to anxiety, panic attacks, increased dependency on others to make decisions, going out of your way to avoid making decisions. There is no precise science yet to explain the cause of decidophobia however, psychologist and behavioural pathologist believe that it may be caused as a result of horrible events or stressors from childhood and adolescence. This phobia has negative consequences like missing out on relationships, missing promotion at work, not living your dreams and keeps you from pursuing your passion. It affects the quality of your life which is why you must be intentional about overcoming it. I am no professional in this field and below are only recommendations and suggestions to help you deal with it. I advise you to seek professional help if you suffer from decidophobia.
The first place is to acknowledge your emotions. Emotions, positive or negative offers us information that serves specific purposes. It is ok to be scared so make peace with your emotions. Next is to understand that there are no ‘wrong’ decisions. Don’t put yourself under unnecessary pressure not to make the wrong decision, the outcome of your decision is a necessary experience on your journey in life but each experience has a lesson to offer. Some are very painful lessons but don’t let it keep you in fear.
Be curious and start with making little decisions and reduce the number of decisions you have to make and as you master it, keep adding more decisions nut make sure you make at least one decision a day. The Eisenhower’s Decision Principle can help you with this. Always know your why before making any decision and empower yourself by asking what the best and worst-case scenarios of your decision will be. Always take action no matter how small. Never stop learning from your mistake. Practice breathing exercise when anxiety strikes. Listen to your guts and pay close attention to your intuition. The next time you feel fear, embrace it, examine it, and if guided to do so, move boldly toward it. Never be ashamed to ask for help. You have friends, family members, mentors and others that are rooting for you to succeed they can support you when you have decisions to make. In conclusion, it is helpful to remember that fear is a valid emotion but don’t allow fear stop you from making decisions that will improve the quality of your life and your contribution to making the world a better place. Decidophobia can be beaten and you can do it.