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Let's Embrace Indecisiveness

Luxury of Choice in an Opinion-Obsessed World

Decision-making seems to be the prized trait of our social norms, the quality every top-employer seeks, and the great antithesis to anxiety and fear. We make decisions all the time, in voting polls, picking our universities, and making movie plans with friends. We pick a choice off the menu at brunch, and hope that our avocado toast lives up to the mimosa-millennial-woman standard. The fact of the matter is, people love opinions, people love decisions, and people love picking a side. There certainly are individuals that I would like to be staunchly decisive: world leaders, judges, emergency room doctors or anyone at the wheel (although frankly this disappoints more often than not). Especially in our increasingly polarized world, however, I argue it’s okay to take a break; it’s okay to be indecisive.

In an age of social media, magnifying our social and political issues across dozens of platforms and pages, it’s hard to feel as if we ever have the choice of silence. As if in not deciding or taking a stance, we’re ignoring the plight of others or basking in the benefits of our own privilege. And while there is always great importance in speaking our mind, it’s impossible to expect everyone to make the right decision at every point. I’d argue it’s unfair to demand choices at all.

In the process of our society’s attempts to assure support and morality, we’ve forgotten the nuance and complexities that life brings. Almost everything is neither black nor white, and yet there’s an evident increase in the expectations to firmly choose exclusively from one of these bland colors. But forcing the choice of choosing makes it not really a choice at all. In our fear of leaving social issues ignored, we’ve created a culture that urges people to pick sides at every opportunity. Forcing decisions is not only harmful on a personal level, but increasingly threatens our society’s ability to think individually and holistically about our contested issues.

We expect celebrities and influencers to jump out of the woodworks to advocate their position on every political issue under the sun. As if models and actors, people who dedicate their life to performance and faux perfection, should have a stronger or equivalent opinion to those who have dedicated their lives to specializing in the study of these fields. It’s not to say that they shouldn’t have opinions, rather we should question whether or not it’s worthwhile to demand these decisions from them.

Indecisiveness and perfectionism go hand in hand, taking the time to think out decisions is an almost foolproof illustration of maturity and intelligence. Especially in situations where broad knowledge is simply not enough to make informed decisions. Better to have the luxury of previous silence, than poor past decisions coming back to haunt you. And perhaps this can be inconvenient — but unlike what Pinterest board quotes say — it’s okay to want to live a life with fewer regrets. The exploration of ambivalence ultimately ends with the best decision you can make, which usually tends to be the right one.

Indecisiveness should not be seen as a weaker trait; sometimes life requires us to stall our given choices in search of the ones that feel right. There’s a reason why 50% of marriages end in divorce, because people don’t think through their relationships or generally the grander life choices that everyone must make. The term “shot-gun” wedding has never been synonymous with “long-lasting love”. Better not to take a stance, than to end up with rushed judgements riddled with misinformation, uncertainty, and doubt.

It’s time we admit that thinking things through, and exploring the decisions we can make, has an unparalleled value. Indecisiveness is priceless and more importantly is a luxury that, if we have the chance to be granted, we should absolutely take. While our opinions may differ in legitimacy, our power of choice is always impactful and, if misused, dangerously harmful. Exploring our options of choice can lead us to discover a confidence and intelligence we could never have anticipated we had. Sometimes, aimlessly wandering paths, both physically and mentally, can prove more fruitful than unconfidently striding down the wrong one.

Illustration by: Calum Mayor

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