‘Do Or Do Not. There Is No Try.’ – the famous words by Yoda have more to them than just dawdling over a decision. Before we peel that layer of onion, let’s talk about decisions. 

But a small anecdote: I was talking to my Dad about his summer holidays. They were a big joint family, so the holidays were a fun affair filled with the following:

  • Bathing in a pond.
  • Watching the cinema on the temple wall.
  • Prepping vegetables for cooking.
  • Just hanging out with each other.
Quote: We are less rational in our decision making that standard economic theory assumes. Our irrational behaviors are neither random not senseless. They are systematic and predictable. We all make the same types of mistakes over and over because of the basic wiring of our brains.

And with no internet and slow modes of transportation, you had to let life make certain decisions for you. For example, there was no way they could scour dozens of reviews to see if a film was worth watching. They could not look at the weather app to find out what the weather would be when they walked an hour to the pond. Life was as simple as waking up in the morning and letting your feet do the work.

But now there are choices – every step we take, we have to make a choice. Wake up in the morning – should I wake up or not? What will the weather be like so I can dress accordingly? At work, every word you utter has to be thought of – and the icing on the cake is our mind’s running commentary. No wonder we are all just tired of living or, rather, the life our minds our living on our behalf.

Now – it’s time to bring this discussion back to decisions. I listen to Katie Byron sometimes – a fantastic lady to hang out with if you are ever looking for good company. One day she realized that she was not breathing, but she was being breathed. When you hear something that your head does not understand but your heart knows it all along – it stays with you, just like this wonderful phrase of words that happened to come out of Katie Byron’s words. And I am still tasting all the delicious flavours that this phrase has to offer. 

One of the flavours that this phrase has to offer can be applied to decision-making. It is impossible for us to grow up in this world without making big decisions. The school you go to, the degree you choose, your life partner, what you eat, etc. ‘It is a big decision you made’, people will tell you, asking you how you made it, etc. There are books out there which will tell you how to make quick decisions – decision velocity, it is called. And I am telling you it is all a sham – It’s not us who make decisions but decisions which make themselves. When the time is right, everything else except the path forward disappears. Just like how we are breathed – if that were not true, we would all die when we sleep. It is not us who are breathing – we become aware of the breathing that is happening and attach ourselves to the doer of breathing.

I believe that the subconscious always knows the best. It is our conditional, vastly overrated rational mind which screws everything up.

If you are in the process of making a pros/cons list, then the waters are still murky for the choice to emerge clearly. I am not saying there is no point in making a list, but honestly, ask yourself if the decision has been lurking in your subconscious long before the do’s/don’ts were put on paper by your hand. In most cases, the thinking mind keeps stirring the waters, so we are not able to see the path forward clearly because we are not ready for it. 

When the time is right, your mind may be noisy or still, but the right path will appear. And you will know in your gut that it is the right thing to do. Until then, you chug along, knowing that the universe is friendly and wants the best for you.

Are you breathing or being breathed?

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