Indecision not only robs us of our happiness, but it also lead to poorer performance.
Once again, it is because thoughts related to making the right decision stay active in your mind when your options are open. This places a rather hefty burden on your working memory, and it is distracting.
It becomes difficult to focus when your mind is entertaining other options.
When you are still deciding what you should do, you don’t have the cognitive resources to devote yourself fully to what you are actually doing. Your attention wanders.
And as a result, your performance suffers. (For instance, in one study, people who made a reversible decision were able to recall fewer correct answers on a subsequent task then those who made a choice they had to stick with.)
So keeping your options open leads to less happiness and success, not more. Ironically, people don’t actually change their minds and revise decisions very often. We just prefer having the option to do so, and that preference is costing us.
I’m not, for the record, saying reversible decisions are never beneficial. Obviously if you have no real basis for making a good choice in the first place and you are just guessing, or if the consequences of your choice might end up killing someone, the option of a do-over is probably a good thing.
But assuming that your choice is carefully considered and you have weighed your options, you will be both happier and more successful if you make a decision and don’t look back.
You can’t be everything to everyone. Decide, focus and do.