There you are, trying to decide the next step. Laid out before you are several options yet you’re paralysed. Instead of feeling energised you feel weighed down by indecision. You try to press on but because you lack clarity you end up more confused, frustrated and overwhelmed.
Sometimes, the more choices you have the more difficult it is to make a decision. The problem is when you try to force it you only make things worse. But what if you considered this idea for a moment, you don’t have to act, at least not right now. That’s right, just do nothing.
Now, this may be a novel concept, actually making a conscious decision to pause, but here’s the thing:
‘Sometimes when you don’t know what to do, the best thing is to do nothing.’
Sometimes, doing nothing is the only prudent action to take. Decisions, especially important ones, should be made with clarity and commitment. Yet sitting still when you feel like you have to do something is easier said than done and here’s why:
1. You see doing nothing as being lazy
Your self worth is often linked to what you do and how much you produce. The act of doing promotes those desirable feelings of: productivity, value and worthiness. If you were to examine the feelings that accompany your desire to get something done often it is more emotional than rational, more based on a desire to be seen as trying rather than on a clearly thought-out decision.
2. You value action even when it produces an unwanted outcome
It’s better to say that you’ve tried than to not have tried at all. The person who makes a mistake can be forgiven, the person who waits and does nothing is often treated with contempt or considered a coward.
3. You would rather fail than be condemned
Sometimes even if it’s not rational or likely to be successful, taking action has the appearance of at least being seen to do something. Others are far more likely to criticize you for not appearing to even try. So even though inaction in that moment is the more rational and brings a better chance of success you are compelled to choose the alternative.
But here’s what doing nothing (with intention) actually means
1. Doing nothing is deliberate inaction
Doing nothing is more than just stopping the doing of something. It is an intentional act, a conscious decision to slow down and find balance. It means disconnecting to replenish your soul. Learning how to do that is essential for flourishing in an over-connected, frenzied world. When faced with lots of choices the best thing you can do is to step away from the situation. Doing nothing is really reclaiming control of your attention.
2. It means being still and aware
Once you disconnect the challenge is to be still. That means being quiet while the storm and confusion pass on. It is an opportunity to take stock and regain perspective. You tune in and listen for that voice that knows what to do. It is being open to that discovery and paying attention for those quiet moments of inspiration. Through stillness you can be creative, your mind can travel with freedom, create new ideas, and find solutions. You can make unexpected connections and get extraordinary insight.
3. It means having trust and patience
A large part of being able to be still and calm is believing, really trusting that the knowledge, the answer is in there somewhere. It is a trust that in doing nothing you will uncover these limitless stores of knowledge and truth. You trust that in doing nothing your inherent wisdom will guide you. It is trust that in doing nothing something is happening, that the pieces are coming together and that patience is required. When you trust you don’t need to be in control.
4. It means allowing guidance
Are you willing to allow your inner guide to lead you to the place where you are supposed to be? A place that allows you to be a better version of yourself. Do you understand that it may show up in ways that you did not expect or plan? Are you willing to remain open in the face of that? If you trust then you are willing to take that step even if it is fraught with uncertainty and fills you with fear. You are able to move forward even if you don’t know what is on the other side.
It can be scary but allow yourself the space to let things flow in
I’ll be honest, sitting still can be uncomfortable at first. You’ll feel the urge to do something, anything but if you resist it long enough the compulsion will pass. Unplug and just let life flow with no pressure and slowly but surely clarity will come. You’ll reconnect with your vision, goals and the why behind it all. That confusion you felt is no more because guess what, you know exactly what step you need to take.
Now over to you.
Have you ever found yourself paralysed by indecision?
How do you clear your mind and figure out what to do next?
Let me know in the comments.