Every decision you're not making is made for you

Guillaume Hansali
Guillaume Hansali
Every decision you're not making is made for you
A long path of unmade decisions.

When I was a kid, my father used to say, "Always put yourself in a position where you can make your own decisions. Otherwise, someone else will decide for you."

There's some wisdom to unpack.

Not the least of which is that being able to make our own decisions should not be taken for granted. That would be a severe case of entitlement. Freedom has been the single most enduring pursuit of modern civilization.

But for me, the important learning was the second part.

If you can't make your own decisions, someone else will.

In other words, every decision you're not making is made for you.

Don't we want to be in control of our lives?

Still, we avoid making decisions even when we can make them.

Maybe because we are worried about the uncertainty of the outcome or don't feel confident about our ability to make the right choice. Or maybe because we want to leave options open.

The act of deciding brings a matter from the infinite realm of possibilities to the finite world of realities.

As long as a decision hasn't been made, everything is possible. Our dream of living overseas or becoming a rockstar is still that. A dream. Maybe we don't want to wake up.

Maybe living overseas isn't what we imagined. Maybe the rockstar life isn't as glamorous as what we'd like it to be. Maybe things won't go as expected.

Schrödinger's cat is both dead and alive.

An unmade decision is both right and wrong.

We don't want to be disappointed. Or rather, we don't want to be responsible for our disappointment.

So, we relinquish our decision power.

Because, like the Trolley problem, as long as we don't push the lever, somehow, we're not accountable.

What we don't realize is that not deciding is a decision.

Not living overseas is deciding to live in your country.

Not investing in financial products (stocks, bonds, etc.) is investing all your wealth in Yen/$/€ (or your currency).

Not quitting is deciding to endure a job you don't like.

Not exercising is deciding to be unfit.

Every decision we are not making takes away from us some form of control over our lives because we are creating an opportunity for someone or something else to make that decision for us.

Going on an adventure in your twenties is a decision you must make. Otherwise, entropy (age) will make that decision for you.

Asking your crush on a date is a decision you must make. Otherwise, someone else may.

A missed opportunity is a decision you didn't make.

Regret is a decision you didn't make.

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