A while ago I visited a friend in the city of Deventer in the Netherlands. She took me downtown and we stumbled upon a tea shop. Since my friend was looking for orange tea and I had run out of my favorite forest fruit mix, we stopped to see if we would have any luck in finding them there. After entering the store, the shopkeeper asked us to follow him. He took us to an alley next door, where he stores all the tea flavors, and he told us to serve ourselves.
We knew what we were looking for (orange and forest fruit tea), but since we were presented with hundreds of options we got a bit… distracted. The shop had the most exotic combinations you could imagine: coco-chili, chai-clove, hibiscus-papaya, etc. (I’m making these up. I actually can’t remember the exact flavors they had since there were so many!).
Unfortunately, I couldn’t decide which tea smelled the best. My nose got confused and I ended up with a bag of nothing. My friend was more decisive than me and got her orange tea along with some other flavor.
And all of this got me thinking. The more options we have, the more difficult it is to make a choice. Although, this may not apply to all things in life. For example, if I’m presented with chocolate, vanilla, and pistachio ice cream, I don’t think. I just eat them all.
But take projects for instance. We want to start the food blog, give the piano lessons, learn Chinese, teach yoga, write a book, start a podcast, and create a YouTube channel (and then we wonder why we’re so stressed). Starting projects is a beautiful thing. In fact, I myself dedicate my time to multiple creative endeavors, but I’ve tackled these one at a time.
Having too many ideas at once can cause decision paralysis. And taking action becomes almost impossible. We freeze our decision making due to our fear of missing out.
I’ve learned that sometimes we have to cross some options off our list in order to dedicate time to those that really matter to us. Click To TweetThere are things in life that are definitely a priority: taking care of our health, improving our financial situation, dedicating time to our passions, and spending time with our loved ones. But sometimes we don’t realize this because we are too distracted by too many tea flavors.
There are people who genuinely care about us, but we might not write, visit, or call them because we’re too busy trying to please others. Similarly, there are often projects that are yearning to come to life, but we don’t take action because we have a huge “to do list” filled with things of lesser importance.
Tea flavors can come in the form of distractions. They look like dozens of blog posts “we have to” read (ahem, I hope not this one), newsletters, YouTube videos, false friends, project ideas we’ve been dragging out for years, or project ideas that others would like us to do or talk about.
We are information consumers. In this tech era, it’s much easier to consume than to create. We think we need to read and watch it all to start working towards our goals. We want to do it all, yet we fail to do so. If you’re having decision paralysis now, just take action. Any action. And see how it feels. The smallest action can help you get that momentum you need in order to start creating something.
Record that first video, outline that product, or at least write down your ideas. Does doing it feel like a burden? Or does it bring you joy and excitement? How would you feel three months from now if you looked back and you were already doing that thing? How would you feel if you weren’t?
Asking these questions will help ease the decision making and hopefully get you to start working on what’s important to you. And if distractions arise, be like my friend and smell them. Say “Thank you, but no thank you. I’m taking these.”