We all make mistakes. Often. The best we can do to avoid making big mistakes is to avoid making big decisions impulsively. Decisions made rashly without carefully considering all sides of a dilemma are the ones that are most often regretted.
Good decisions are the product of mulling over opposing factors. Impulsive decisions are made from just one part of ourselves, usually the part that’s been held back for a while.
For example, after years of being the responsible type, people crave fun and spontaneity. Some may suddenly quit their job, leave their marriage, or move to Hawaii to surf. While these could be good decisions for a particular individual, making the snap decision to swing to the opposite lifestyle often leads to deep regret. Such decisions often backfire and cause the person to get right back on their previous track without integrating any of the new quality they may be desiring, such as in this case, spontaneity.
Generally, big life changes are most successful if they don’t involve a change to the polar opposite. Instead new qualities should be gradually integrated into your life without throwing out the qualities you’ve spent your life developing.
On the other hand, avoiding making important decisions is a decision in itself. Life is a series of choices, experiences, and adjustments. We shouldn’t be paralyzed by fear of making a mistake, because the absence of decisions and adjustments can just as easily lead to big mistakes.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD