Decision Paralysis: The Killer of Creative Endeavors

Decision Paralysis: The Killer of Creative Endeavors
Photo by Micaela Parente on Unsplash

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.

Tea flavors

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.

Jack Nicholson in The Shinning
Jack Nicholson in The Shining

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.”

Author: Jessica Araus

My name is Jessica. I’m a writer and illustrator living in the Netherlands. I write stories based on my life experiences and I also create colorful illustrations that entertain and inspire many. It’s my hope that this blog serves you as a simple reminder of the power you have to choose, create, and live a life that you love.

2 Replies to “Decision Paralysis: The Killer of Creative Endeavors

  1. I love this post! How fun that you explained this issue using our tea outing. I may have been made the choice in that moment (although I recall plenty of going back and forth too), I do struggle with this too. Most of us do right?
    I call it “option overload”. I agree with your solution. It is often a matter of picking an option, any option, start moving with it and see how it feels. Try it on for size. If it doesn’t work, we can always pick again. Thankfully; “life is forever tries”.

    Really loved reading this post. Thanks for making the decision to write this (you likely had other options as well) and thanks for moving with it. You walked your talk and I for one love walking with you. Love, Yvon

    1. Exactly! We can always comeback and pick again if the choice in question doesn’t fulfill us. Thanks for reading! Love connecting with you as well. <3
      P.S. Next time I go to Deventer we have to go to that coffee shop where they have that amazing apple pie (the one next to the tea shop). I'm sure the decision making will go more smoothly next time. I'm good at picking cake! haha.

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