Have you ever heard the story of Buridan’s A**? The short version is that a donkey who was both hungry and thirsty was placed between a bale of hay and a bucket of water. Being equally hungry and thirsty, and being equidistant from the hay and the water, the donkey couldn’t make a rational choice of which form of sustenance to select. The donkey dies of both hunger and thirst because he couldn’t choose whether to eat the food or drink the water first.
The moral of the story is this: If you don’t choose something, you’ll never choose anything. I recently wrote a blog about how important it is to take action and to go after the opportunities that are waiting for you. Indecisiveness will kill your opportunities if you allow it to freeze your actions.
We live in the age of opportunity. We have the ability to travel to destinations about which our ancestors could only dream. We can type anything on a Google search and get millions of results in less than a second—pages full of information about anything we want to know. And if you want to write blogs, develop a social media following, or sell products online, you can build a business from the ground up starting today.
With so many choices at our fingertips, the decision-making process can be overwhelming. The best thing you can do is make a calculated decision and follow through with it. Don’t do things rashly, but make sure that you do something. Find something that makes sense to you and give it a try. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and you might forgo an equally appealing opportunity in order to pursue it, but there’s a good chance that it could pay off big time for you.
My friend Matt Miller started School Spirit Vending after making the choice to pursue an opportunity to make money in the vending machine industry. Having that experience led to another opportunity for him—providing custom school spirit products to schools across North America. If Matt hadn’t made the choice to experiment with his vending machine ideas, he never would have started the amazing business he runs now.
In his book The Obstacle is the Way, Ryan Holiday says “Our movements and decisions define us: We must be sure to act with deliberation, boldness, and persistence. Those are the attributes of right and effective action.”
Ryan Holiday advises readers to be decisive and to follow through with their choices, using supporting examples of several famous people throughout history who made the right choice amidst a myriad of options.
We can’t let too many choices and too much freedom be an obstacle that gets in our way.
The next time you feel overwhelmed with too many choices and can’t decide which one to choose, just pick one! Decide to go with it, and follow through. If you weigh your options carefully and none of them seem better or worse than the others, then you can select any of them and proceed with the peace of mind that you made the best choice you could make.
Don’t be afraid of failure. Not everything we try is going to go our way, but we won’t know how it will end up unless we try it in the first place. As American entrepreneur Malcolm Forbes said, “Victory is sweetest when you’ve known defeat.” Let the setbacks fuel you, and learn from mistakes. I’d much rather try something and not succeed than have the regret of missed opportunity.