What if I get it ‘wrong’?

Nothing triggers off overthinking quite like encountering a fork in the road of life, and having to decide which way to go.

We spend weeks agonising over the decision, crowd source opinions from all our friends and family members, research everything to the nth degree … and still, we find ourselves no closer to an answer.

When this happens, it’s almost always because we’ve decided that one choice is ‘right’ and one is ‘wrong’. We think we’re choosing between two paths that look like this:

If we get the decision ‘right’, it’ll be smooth sailing all the way. Life will be easy! If we get the decision ‘wrong’, we’ll be faced with ever-increasing challenges.

So, we put a lot of time and energy into avoiding the wrong choice.

We need to stop looking at the options on hand in this way. For most things we’re deciding between, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, there is simply a path forward.

One path might be cruisy at the start, but present major challenges later on.

The other path might veer upward the second you put your foot on it, but the challenges it throws up along the way might be fairly easy to overcome.

Both paths have the potential to land you in the same place at the ‘end’.

In life, there are very few genuinely ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ choices but if you do find yourself making the ‘wrong’ choice, here’s what’s going to happen:

  • You’ll make it right
  • You’ll learn a hard lesson that stands you in good stead later
  • You’ll be able to strike something off the ‘things I thought I wanted to do’ list

Two other things worth remembering about paths in life:

  • If you don’t like the one you’re on, you can change it.
  • The most challenging climbs give the best views.

Comments 16

  1. I recently drove myself crazy with a decision that was indeed important but, after reading this, I know I agonised way too much. You’re right in so many ways here. I think I knew this deep down, but needed someone to spell it out for me. Thank you. (And I love the last line, I think my kids are going to get sick of hearing that 🙂 )

  2. “You’ll be able to strike something off the ‘things I thought I wanted to do’ list”

    Two of our kids have ditched uni courses – one after 12 months the other with only 5 months left of the degree.

    The latter agonised over the decision for at least two years without sharing his struggle. When he made the decision not to continue he thought we’d be angry.

    I congratulated him on making a decision that served him, not the opinions of others. Brave thing to do. He felt he’d wasted almost four years is his life. I assured him that no experience is ever wasted; you gave it a good hot go and discovered it’s not what you want to do with your life; existing through the rest of your life in a carer you loathe, that would be a waste of a life.

    I like your more succinct explanation of striking off the list something you thought you wanted to do.

    I love how you process these thoughts and then lay them down so thoughtfully for us to pick up. Xx

    1. I think we really underestimate the value of trying something, realising we don’t actually like doing it, and knowing with certainty that it’s a path we don’t want to travel again

  3. Thanks for this Kelly, as an overthinker I am constantly reminding myself that very few decisions can’t be changed. I grew up with the lesson you made your bed you have to lie in it. I call bulls*#t on that, if my bed isn’t comfy I’m getting out and doing whatever is necessary to make it comfy, from straightening the sheets and fluffing the doona to getting a whole new bed.

  4. I was just (re)listening to your ‘quitting’ podcast with Brooke and particularly like Brooke’s approach of having no regrets and recognising you’ve made the best decision with all of the information you had available to you at the time.

    You both also talk about ensuring we make those decisions in line with our values etc… which I think is also important. I’m a big believer in going with my gut – or intuitive decision making and think if I’ve done that regret isn’t really an option / necessity.

  5. Thank you Kelly. I was totally viewing decision-making around where to send our kids to school via this lens. No choice is wrong and if something does goes belly up, we can change schools. ?

    1. Schools is a HARD decisions but it’s exactly as you said – if things don’t turn out well for the choice you’ve made … it’s not a tattoo! You can always move 🙂 Our kids are so much more resilient than we give them credit for

  6. Oh yes tanks kelly!
    Always a finger on the pulse of life!
    Many choices indeed!
    The complexities of the human condition/existance being a precarious one … at the same time we have choices! being split second or long and drawn out!
    We will all make mistakes and we are left facing the consequences! Sometimes opening unexpected fruitful opportunities that we hadn’t even considered!
    I try to stay open and listen to my intuition!
    Give oneself a bit of slack!
    Much love mx)

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