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How to Stop Dithering and Start Doing

Updated on August 29, 2018

It once took me three hours to decide whether to buy two pairs of dress shoes with a buy-one-get-one-free deal. It was a great deal! Imagine the money I could have made had I not wasted those three hours! Or imagine the passion project or family bonds where I could have applied that time.

Clearly, I had to learn to stop dithering. And I did learn! Now, let’s talk about how to help you.


You Are Not a Lone Ditherer

When we make mistakes or get tripped up by our shortcomings, we can feel like we are bad or unworthy of success and happiness in life. Please do not give in to this feeling. Everyone fails. It’s what you do next that matters.

I have dithered. I occasionally still do. Billions of people on Earth do it. You’re not alone, and you have the potential and capacity to grow, make choices, and move forward in your life.

Learn to Accept that Many Decisions Don’t Have a Wrong Answer

Perhaps, you take seemingly forever to order from a menu. I have done this. And sometimes, you eat what arrives and wish you had chosen a different item. This is a type of FOMO (fear of missing out), and ain’t it fun!

You know what’s meaningful about those situations? Choosing the “wrong” item doesn’t kill you (assuming that we are not talking here about a food allergy). It still nourishes you. Thus, there is no wrong answer.

Life includes a lot of these decisions:

  • What to wear
  • Which color car to buy
  • Whether to go out or stay home

The list of examples could be very long, but I decided not to continue it, and I didn’t dither for one second.

If you can’t go wrong, then you have the freedom to pick and move on with life.

Truly Living Requires Taking Action

Indecisiveness contributes to failures. Take the writer who hunts their mind for each little word. They fall into the mind’s trap of analyzing instead of doing. You know who gets things done? People who do things!

It’s normal to want to analyze. Analysis has its place, but over-analyzing is part of dithering, so counter it. Nine times out of every 10 that you get the impulse to analyze, push against it and act instead. You will accomplish way more in life than a ditherer’s mindset will allow.


Forward Progress Is Success

When we dither, we impede our forward progress. Without progress, we cannot succeed. Everyday, multiple times, I repeat my mantra, which I picked up from another writer’s blog, “Forward progress is success.”

If you take action, if you make decisions and quickly adapt based upon their outcomes as you flow toward the next succession of decisions, you will succeed more times than you ever could by stalling and wallowing in indecisiveness.

Repetition Is the Creator of Skill

You might be currently scared. You might feel that you cannot possibly transition from an indecisive person to an action taker. But change begins when we take a simple action and do it again and keep repeating it until we become confident in that action.

In other words, use Tony Robbins’s mantra, “Repetition is the mother of skill.”

I am a proficient writer. There was a time that statement was not true. I am a professional stand-up comedian. This was not always the case. I produce great comedy shows with myself and other professionals in the lineup. Obviously, I couldn’t do that when I came out of the womb.


Fail Forward Fast

In the 21st century, tech startups started to live by their own mantra, “Fail forward fast.” (I keep mentioning mantras. Do you see a theme? Apparently, my subconscious wants me to draw these parallels, and I’m going to leave these mantra mentions in this article. To do otherwise would be to dither, to waiver, and I think this mantra theme has value.)

Another way to think about failing forward quickly is to tell yourself to get to the next mistake, the next obstacle, as fast as possible. Then, you can improvise and overcome it faster than you would have.

This is the value of not dithering. You will move so much faster!

This article is almost done, and I only started writing it 20 minutes ago. That’s the power of taking action, being willing to fail and adapt, and not dithering!

Try this Trick to Help You Make Decisions

Mel Robbins is a top motivational speaker, and she built her speaking business out of her family’s financial ruin. She has a technique that can help you force yourself to make decisions.

Called The 5 Second Rule, it involves counting backwards from five and forcing yourself to immediately make a decision, live with it, and move forward. Use this the next time you feel stuck. You will get tons more done in life!

If you want to learn more about Mel’s 5 Second Rule, you can read her book about it. It has helped me a great deal in my life!


What If You Backslide into Dithering Numbness?

You’re going to be okay. I still occasionally dither. The world doesn’t end.

If you follow my tips but, one day, slip back into the habit of worrying unnecessarily over decisions, it won’t mean you’re bad or broken. You’re simply a human being with challenges, just like everyone else.

All you will need to do is get back on your horse of decisiveness. (Naaayyyy!) And get back to taking action and enjoying experiences, and learning from those experiences.

Happy not dithering!


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