Making decisions can be very hard to do. Making tough decisions can be even harder and even anxiety provoking, which is why many people end up either in bad decisions, a place of ambivalence or living with more angst than necessary.
Many people are so afraid of making tough decisions that they simply don’t. Unconsciously many of these people will put themselves into positions (i.e., being homeless, being institutionalized, exceptional religiously preoccupied, joining the military, being taken care of by government assistance) so that they don’t have to make many decisions.
One way to make decision making easier is to develop a principle called absolute yes.
The principle is simple. Say no to anything unless it is an absolute yes. That means if not every part of you, mind body and soul, is not saying yes, than the answer is no, at least for now.
Many of us, besides finding it hard to make a decision, end up saying yes when we really mean no. Sometimes this causes us to end up in undesirable situations all because we didn’t follow through with our true answer.
When you start to use the absolute yes principle, you will see it demands commitment to the truth. It forces us to know ourselves, the little games we play, the excuse, justifications and stories we tell ourselves. We will start to re-examine situations where we are tempted to sell ourselves short, give our power over to someone else or sabotage our own happiness and success.
It will help us to see through the glitz and temptation that often makes us say yes because we want to be respected and loved, when inside we really want to say no.
Think about it. Many people say yes to having sex, getting married, to having kids when they really want to say no. Everyone has things that tempt them to say yes; from the sexy bad guy you know will only drain you emotionally, to that second piece of cake or that new red Mustang 5.0 you really can’t afford, but really want.
Saying no to anything unless it is an absolute yes means we have to take a step back from these temptations, put some emotional distance between our desires and what is actually best for us. That is why it is a discipline and a practice which takes time, commitment, especially commitment to personal mastery.
An absolute yes means that there is no doubt and while we may not know what is going to happen next, we take responsibility for our decision and there is no one else to blame for our choice.
Just because something isn’t an absolute yes now doesn’t mean that it will be a no forever. We may require more time, more information, or more insight before our no turns into an absolute yes.
This reflection, gathering information and putting some space between our emotions are all essential parts of effective decision making skills.
Taking an absolute yes approach to making a decision will reduce the amount of stress involved as well as help us to say no to the things we really don’t want to say yes to and say an absolute yes to the things we do. We’ll spend less times doing things we truly don’t want to do and more times really living the life we want to live.
For a more colorful take on Absolute Yes (and a very good read), check out Fuck Yes or Fuck No by Mark Manson.