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Fear is the mind killer…

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

What are you most afraid of? It’s spiders right? Or maybe clowns?

The range of things that strike fear into people’s hearts is vast, as vast in fact as the range of things there are in the world. Some of these are pretty reasonable on the face of it – take Atomosophobia for example – the fear of atomic explosions. It’s perfectly understandable to be afraid of atomic explosions, they are pretty scary. The issue arises if you spend your time worrying about the possibility of an atomic explosion on a daily basis.

By far the most irritating phobia I have ever encountered is Decidophobia, the fear of making decisions.

Making a decision is a simple act. A quick assessment of the situation, a moment’s thought on potential outcomes then decide what you want to do. It’s easy. Honestly. Consider your day to day life. Consider the millions upon millions of tiny decisions you make moment to moment, mostly without even thinking about it. It’s built into our psyche to reflexively decide on a course of action. Not necessarily always the best course of action, but a course of action nonetheless.

Why then do so many people find it so difficult to make the simplest of decisions?

I’m fairly certain it is down to a fear of having to take responsibility (Hypengyophobia, Phobia fans!) for their decisions. Nobody wants to take the blame for anything. The buck gets passed from pillar to post and nothing actually gets achieved. I have no doubt that Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan had no problem at all in making decisions and indeed were probably quite happy to answer for the consequences of their decision making. Achieved rather a lot between them methinks.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some decisions you wouldn’t want to make lightly. Depending on the context you could quite literally be taking a life or death decision with far reaching consequences for you or for other people. These will obviously be more difficult to make although crisis decision making frequently offers less time to ponder than you would hope for, the pressure often forcing your hand and making the process easier.

My point, quite simply, is this: make a decision. If somebody asks you a straightfoward question, give them a straightforward answer. Getting it wrong is (probably) not going to kill you. Get a spine, feel the fear and do it anyway.

Otherwise we will never get anything done.

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