Using momentum to make good decisions

I’ve been making some good decisions for myself recently.

However, often just moments before a decision goes beyond the point of no return, feelings of doubt try to talk me out of following through. They can be quite convincing.

Feelings of doubt often come with good reason. Maybe a decision I’m making involves a significant financial cost so I should consider it carefully. But doubt can also be over-cautious and fearful.

If doubt were always king, my life would frankly be a very safe and boring one.

Is that the kind of life I want? No thank you!

So what overtakes doubt? I used to think that the best solution was large doses of reflective writing. I figured that if I wrote about my decisions enough, then the power of reason would eventually overpower my ability to doubt and I would be convinced of the best action to take.

While writing is helpful, recently what has helped me has actually been momentum.

Once I’m convinced of something, I’ve been taking actions fairly quickly to make the thing happen. So instead of weeks of doubt, I might just have two days worth. The momentum of a decision coming to life simply outruns the power of my doubts. Having less time to be afraid works like a charm.

In writing all this, I feel it important to share a couple caveats or thoughts on the limits of this piece.

  1. The practice of acting quickly and gaining momentum is only helpful if one’s judgment is generally good and so should be trusted.

  2. I believe this reflection is more applicable to people that are generally risk-averse over-thinkers. I imagine the journey towards making fast and good decisions for someone who is already more inclined towards taking risks and acting quickly would look very different.