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How to Conquer the Fear of Making Bad Choices

By: Brian Kim - October 28, 2010

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You’re at a crossroads. You have to make a choice.

And the thought inevitably creeps into your mind:

What if I make the wrong choice?

It’s one of the biggest things that hold people back. Riding the fence between two choices, agonizing over the pros and cons list, not knowing what to do, and then freaking out over all the indecision – it’s not a pretty place to be.

So how do we conquer this fear and make the decision and follow through on it?

The first thing you have to realize is you’ve got to internalize that whatever the outcome is of the choice you make, you’ll deal with it.

You have plenty of time.

You’ll take an objective look at the outcome, a look not clouded with emotion and make the right decision. You’ll move from there on.

Over time, you’ll acclimate to the outcome, whatever it is so even if it stings at first, you’ll deal with it eventually and it’ll fade back into the background.

You have to think in “chunks”. You won’t know exactly what will happen if you pursue the choice you make.

Ever notice we always tend to think the worst will happen? But that’s just ONE possibility. What if something great happens? The point is you don’t know so it’s not prudent to speculate or assume and then drive yourself crazy on those speculations and assumptions that have no basis because nothing has happened yet.

And think about this. What is a bad choice?

It’s a label you put onto it. A label you slap on AFTER you go through with the decision. But since it’s a label, why not peel off the good label instead and stick it on to that choice?

How is this experience going to serve you?

When you internalize that no mater what choice you make, that it will be good for you in the long run - it’s a liberating feeling. The fear of making bad choices will be gone because every choice you make from here on out will be a good one in the long run.

Think back to the choices you’ve made in life.

What happened?

Yeah, if some turned out “bad” for you, you dealt with it eventually. You figured out what you needed to do to adapt to it and life moved on.

No biggie.

And a lot of the time, you were glad you made the choice weren’t you?

Instead of wallowing in the middle on the fence going nowhere during all that time.

Life is a series of choices you make.

Just choices.

Not necessarily good or bad ones from an objective point of view.

Just choices.

Choices in which we can’t predict the outcomes.

Given that, all we can do is say to ourselves that whatever the outcome, we’ll deal with it. Get the best from it. Use it to make the next best choice. And move on from there.

This is where experience is heralded because over time, you’ll get better and better at making the choices that will truly serve you the best. You’ll get a gut feeling at which one is the “right” one but you can’t give your mind that ability without giving it information to work on, information that can only be gathered through experience of making choices based on certain factors and seeing how it all played out.

Make the best choice you can. Follow through. Know that you’ll deal with it, whatever the outcome and that you’ll get used to it and that you’ll learn from it. That every choice you make is a good one in the long run when you put it in the big picture.

Now choices don’t really seem that big of a problem anymore. One choice will not define your entire future. There are many more to make after that. And not only that, every choice you make, after deciding what the best thing to do given the information you have, will benefit you.

You can’t lose.

And when you can’t lose, there’s really nothing to fear now is there?

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