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Overthinking: Impossible To Choose

As overthinkers, we often find ourselves stuck at crossroads, finding it hard to make a decision. We’ll turn to others and every other person will have a different opinion. We’ll Google it and find a bunch of articles that only make us doubt ourselves more. What we should do really, is quiet our minds and follow our gut feeling, right? But that’s not so easy.

So how to?

The key is not trying to make sense of it. Don’t try to explain with your brain why you’re choosing either option!

Reason 1: impulsions (decisions we make) are need-based.

Whatever the reason, the impulsion you feel to go either for option A or B is your instinct feeding into a basic, psychological or self-fulfillment need for - essentially - your survival. Review Maslow’s pyramid of needs and see how the needs in the pyramid relate back to your options. You may find that one option feels right because it makes you feel safer, more connected to others, worthier. You may want to map this out - each option to the needs it responds to.

Reason 2: your brain will make errors explaining your decisions.

Start With Why by Simon Sinek mentions the “gut feeling” we love to throw around every occasion we have is not actually a feeling in the gut but in our limbic brain, responsible for feelings and decision making.

Our limbic feeling is responsible for feelings and action (making a decision) but not rationalizing it - that happens some other place in the brain. So it turns out we make decisions based on feelings (motivated by Maslow’s needs), and then this other part of our brain reasons and attempts to explain the decision we’ve made. This leads to errors in reasoning (logical fallacies).

Still stuck...

If option A and option B are still equally appealing… Try these:

Coin toss

The infamous coin toss - while it’s in the air, which are you hoping for? Now that the coin has chosen, how do you feel? Feel like tossing again?

Pros & cons

Make a list of pros and cons, and count! If you want to make it a little more sophisticated, add weights to each point you make. See which option scores the highest.

Worst case scenario (personal favorite)

What’s the worst case scenario for option A, and for option B? Which of these worst case scenarios would you rather make happen?

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