More failure has been caused by indecision than by making poor decisions – Winston Churchill

The first semi-serious dating relationship I ever had was doomed from the start for one reason.  Neither one of us was willing to commit.

I’m not talking about lifetime commitments here.  At fifteen I don’t think anyone was expecting us to commit to being in a relationship forever.  I’m talking about the fact that we were incapable of making the simplest of decisions together.

“Wanna go to the movies?”

“Maybe, what do you want to see?”

“I don’t know, what do you want to see?”

“Oh whatever you want to see is fine, you decide.”

“No, you decide.”

“We could stay in and watch something on TV.”

“What do you want to watch?”

“I’m not sure, maybe we could… XYZ.”


You get the picture.

After about 6 weeks of that we both got so frustrated with each other that we broke-up.  To be honest though you can hardly say that we ever dated at all because we could never decide what to do, we just ended up having conversations like this on the phone, hanging out a school and doing the same things we would have done alone or with somebody else anyway.

In this case I think we were both so nervous being around each other that we could hardly move but decision fatigue is a real thing.  From the moment we get up in the morning to the time we finally fall into bed at the end of the day we are constantly making decisions.  Sooner or later you’re going to run out of steam.

It happens to the best of us.  Eventually the daily grind of constant decision making gets to be too much and you shut down.  The inability to make a decision eventually becomes its own decision however and failure, as Winston Church observed, is often the end result.

I recently came across a helpful thought experiment you can use the next time you’re faced with a big decision and a bit of fatigue or apprehension about making it.  Ask yourself:

“Six months from now am I more likely to say I wish I hadn’t or I’m glad I did?”

If you can visualize how you’re going to feel either way you know the course of action to take and the decision has been made.

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