I signed up for college without a clue of what I wanted to do with my life. And the trend only continued from there.
My first job wasn’t remotely similar to what I’ve ended up doing. In fact, my first few jobs were just that: jobs. I couldn’t imagine them turning into a career I loved. I left what seemed like job after job, feeling like I wasn’t finding my “fit”.
My first few relationships were duds. The first two times I screwed up my courage to tell a girl I liked her, I was rejected. My first marriage ended in divorce, which according to the general definition of marriage, meant it was a failure.
By a narrow definition of success, almost everything I have done in the formative years of my life has been a failure. I wasted my college major, failed repeatedly to find the perfect dream job, and couldn’t keep the girl I loved.
And yet, I don’t regret anything that I have experienced. I know that sounds incredible, but please follow me on my train of thought.
Over the past few years I have dedicated myself to studying what makes people happy. One of the most interesting things I have read are studies on the regrets of people near the end of their lives.
The amazing truth is that when all is said and done, people rarely regret the things that they did. They don’t regret the mistakes they made or the times they tried, because each of these experiences taught them valuable lessons and helped them shape who they are now.
Rather, these people regret the things that they didn’t do. They regret not taking a chance on that fledgling business or that uncertain relationship. They regret not spending more time with their families. They regret spending so much time paralyzed by fear.
This is the perspective I’m trying to have. Ultimately, my failures are not failures. They have molded me and shaped me. They have taught me valuable lessons that I wouldn’t trade for anything. And they have helped me become who I am now.
Every time I’ve thought, “Oh, it’s curtains for me now! I’ve really done it this time!”, what looked like the end of the road was merely a curve taking me in a new direction. I remember the time I overdrew my bank account and didn’t know how I was going to pay my rent. I remember the time I was left outside in the rain (yes, literal rain) after being rejected by a girl. I remember leaving my full time job with no back up plan, terrified of what was going to happen next.
Each of these times seemed like the end of the world. But after the world ended, I was still standing. And I was stronger.
I truly hope that this is encouraging for you. When you are paralyzed by indecision, don’t forget that you will one day look back on this experience as simply a bump in a beautiful journey. Odds are good that you will learn much, especially if you keep your chin up and are determined to keep growing.
What’s important is not that you do everything perfectly. You can’t expect to figure it out on the first try. In fact, trying and failing is part of the process of growing and becoming someone you are proud to be.
Maybe the answer to “what should I do when I’m stuck in indecision” is, “almost anything, as long as it’s a step”. Maybe the answer to indecision is to move one foot forward, a little at a time. Have fun, and see what you learn.
I’m not advising making stupid decisions on purpose. And I’m not advising making decisions without thinking. But if you are stuck in indecision, moving forward may be the right thing to do. Even if you’re unsure of which direction to go. Sometimes, there is no right answer. The only thing you can do is keep moving, and keep learning. It’s worth it.
I promise you won’t regret it.