The Debate

If you are anything like me, the smallest decisions can quickly become material for the greatest debates of your life. You can turn the tiniest molehill of an issue into a huge mountain of a decision just by sitting down and analyzing too much.

Sound familiar? Have you ever gotten weighed down in trying to make small decisions of little consequence and had trouble keeping perspective? I definitely have. It is so easy to take a minor decision like ‘what should I eat for breakfast?’ and turn it into a two-sided debate that can last long beyond normal breakfast hours. You begin to debate whether you should have a healthy, balanced breakfast of wholegrain toast and fruit or if you can indulge (just this once) in a less-healthy meal of packaged pastries and a latte. Did you eat healthy enough the day before to reward yourself with a sugar-filled breakfast? Are you planning to eat better food for the rest of the day? These questions and more can add unnecessary stress and debate to your choice.

Those of us who are analytical by nature have an even tougher time not turning everything into a debate in our head. Take shopping for example. You find a great sweater on sale for ten dollars, but there is an even cuter sweater that you are sure you’d wear more. The cuter sweater, however, is forty dollars. What do you do? People like me start making mental lists of the pros and cons on each side of what has become a great debate during your day. Do you save the money but forfeit the better looking sweater? Or do you splurge and take some dollars away from another item you really needed to buy? What a task it can be to make choices like these when we let ourselves make big issues out of small ones.

Is there anything we can do to stop making ourselves debate each decision we make each day? I for one am tired of living this way. It is one thing to be intentional about the choices you make, but it is another thing entirely to overwork your brain with debates over breakfasts or new sweaters.

I guess I only have one piece of tested and tried advice to give people whose biggest opponent in any debate is themselves: stop it. When you feel a silly debate about to be had in your head, just stop it. Take a moment to settle down your thoughts and to really consider how important this decision is. The chances are that it is not anywhere worth near the time and energy you will spend analyzing the choice. You will find, as I am beginning to, that ninety percent of the things I let become a great debate in my head are really not worth having a debate about at all. Have the unhealthy breakfast, buy the expensive sweater. Do what you want. Just stop being so indecisive about what that means.

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