It gets easier for us to do nothing all the time.
Opting out used to be much more difficult. We were only expected to make a meaningful decision every few days at most, because most decisions had usually already been made for us. Our education, family background or income determined how we lived and what real choices we had about what to do or how to act.
Moving to a new house or job. Getting married or divorced. Choosing a school for our kids or a political party to support.
Back then, whenever we had to make a decision more people noticed and cared. Their own decisions often depended on what we were doing. And when a letter could take a week or more to reach someone else’s mailbox, and long distance phone calls were prohibitively expensive, we had much more time to gather facts and weigh possible courses of action.
But now, many big decisions must be made in a matter of seconds. We almost never have time to collect reliable information, much less talk it over with family or trusted advisors. Within just the last few years search engines have become decision engines. We can narrow our choices down to a couple of products or companies before we finish reading the first page of search results. We can even share news about our personal relationships with a digital “It’s complicated.”
Our friends and family feel pressured to make decisions at a supersonic clip almost every hour, too. They’re much less likely to notice what we decide–or if we’ve decided not to make a decision.
In this environment, it’s easy to find people telling us what we should do. Complete strangers urge us to confirm our instant decision by sending them some hard-earned money, without taking time to carefully consider alternatives.
“Decision fatigue” is even described in mainstream media as a prevalent social problem, which leads us to make big decisions without any due diligence, or even a second opinion.
We each need a place to get thoughtful, dependable advice from successful and caring people. Where we can make important decisions about what to do when we’re ready. It might be the last place you’d look. It’s definitely worth looking for.