The Paradox of Choice, again

Decisions! The paradox of choice!  I already wrote this blog… on June 19. Here it is, three months later, and we are just now moving forward in a significant way with the project. Please read my earlier blog… it is what I would write again to-day.

However, I have finally come to the conclusion that an imperfect decision, whatever the confusion and anxiety, is preferable to paralysing indecision. And that is exactly what we have been experiencing.

My mother would have said that we have been “hemming and hawing”, so I looked that up. A good strategy for more procrastination! Don’t you just love the last sentence in this excerpt!

Then again, wasn’t it T.S. Eliot who said “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity”? Truer words were never spoken. Unless they were spoken by W.B. Yeats, which, come to think of it, they were. Golly, this being certain business is hard.

Which is, of course, where “hem and haw” (the usual form) comes in. Depending on one’s point of view, when you are “hemming and hawing,” you are either dithering and refusing to give a definite answer, or simply (as the politicians say) “keeping your options open.”….

So, put together, “hem and haw” vividly describes that moment when our mouth stalls for time while our mind attempts to assess the ramifications of our possible answers, the mental “looking” before the verbal “leaping.” And while it’s annoying to ask a question and be answered with “hemming and hawing,” there’s an argument to be made that the world could do with a little less instant certainty.

Hem and haw: being hesitant and indecisive; avoiding commitment… absolute maybe…

The hem is the clearing of one’s throat, ahem, and the haw is that choking response that we experience when startled or upset… stalling, unable to speak clearly and respond… like when looking at a renovation estimate!

Okay, I get it… but I also need a new kitchen… preferably one with a stove and dishwasher that actually function.

I usually try to break through my habit of procrastination and over thinking a problem or project by doing something such as… guess what… gathering information…research. And the more you research, the more information you have, the greater the paradox of choice, the more difficult the decision, the more entrenched the procrastination… a vicious circle… or is it cycle?

So I stopped researching floor plans and faucets (watch how you pronounce that) and went to the very heart of the problem… the decision-making process itself. Metacognition in a real-time, personal application. HAW, not as in hem and haw, but as in rollicking, side-splitting nasty laughter… HA, HA, HA!

Do check out this link from a website called… wait for it…” mindtools”, from TED, no less! Each of the six steps is elaborated in great detail, with cross references to additional pages of advice… strategies galore… for more procrastination and paralysis!

A logical and systematic decision-making process helps you address the critical elements that result in a good decision. By taking an organized approach, you’re less likely to miss important factors, and you can build on the approach to make your decisions better and better.

There are six steps to making an effective decision:

  1. Create a constructive environment.
  2. Generate good alternatives.
  3. Explore these alternatives.
  4. Choose the best alternative.
  5. Check your decision.
  6. Communicate your decision, and take action.

Sure! But I think we have found a contractor, so now the detailed decision-making must begin. Do you have any idea how many decisions are involved in planning a kitchen from scratch, when everything has been ripped out and you are working with an empty shell? Some of my friends would see this as a great opportunity. I am trying to talk myself into embracing that point of view. Minimal success so far.

Ready by Christmas? I am not sending out any party invitations… but maybe by Easter!

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One Response to The Paradox of Choice, again

  1. FLP says:

    May we follow you down the same road soon.

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