Evolve V.S. Solve, Embracing Indecision.
–Part of a series (I suspect : ) Entitled “I am my mother’s daughter”
Most of us are raised with a handful of adages that we can’t quite get out of our heads and toward which we often develop a natural rebellion. This has been sort of true for me but now I’ve lived long enough to add the next layer of learning to this, which is, that usually if you wait long enough, you just may come to deeply understand these old sayings.
So, one of those adages that has surfaced lots, is the old, “If you don’t know what you want to do, don’t do anything”. Maybe this is a new one to you that you never heard as a kid? For me in all my years of social and personal indecision, I heard it a lot. And let’s be honest when you are intensely consumed with trying to make a decision this advice is never well received.
So in our “get it done” culture with an ever growing list of “to do’s” how can we possibly justify prolonging a decision especially when our next plan of action may rely upon it?
Well, we all know there are plenty of times when we can’t just power through a decision. Or the time for whatever reason is just not right for making some decisions. So yep, what I’m going to suggest, is that in these cases the only good decision to make, is to decide to not make one.
The idea is to embrace indecision! I call it incubation. It is that time when on the outside it appears that nothing is happening. No movement, no change, no action related to decision. But on the inside observation and awareness are engaged. Thoughts, ideas and energy are storing up and percolating. They are having unconscious conversations with all the other parts of us, gearing up for when the right moment comes to take action. Incubation, by my definition, is an established period of time in which you openly and actively do nothing except embrace evolution instead of forced solution. It is a commitment to evolve versus solve, for the time being! As you can imagine, I often get some push back when I propose this to clients, because some decisions feel quite pressing and we all have that part of us that simply can’t stand the idea of waiting.
To that I offer choosing a date at which you will revisit the decision. I’ve found that by selecting an expiration date for our incubation to wrap up, we can bring about a calm or feeling of relief. This can even give us a felt sense of freedom during this purposeful time of trusting indecision. Plus, you get to use your decisive self to select a thoughtful date.
So, go ahead and choose a date sometime out in the future, whatever is appropriate for the situation. It needs to be long enough to really provide relief from deciding and time enough to be truly open and observe opportunity and options without judgement. It is almost always the case that by the time that date arrives we have already passively, quietly and even unconsciously made the decision and we have done so by honoring our natural process of “incubation”. It’s basically trust of the internal self. Try it sometime, it even works with term papers as long as you allow enough time for procrastination after incubation : )