Is Your Need For Certainty Paralyzing You? - Avarah Careers

My friends can tell you that I agonize over making decisions, especially big ones. When I’m in the thick of it, I’m looking for certainty. I want to be sure!

I think this is rooted in childhood, when everything we did was either “right” or “wrong.” There were never any shades of grey, and wrong was bad. Being wrong was stupid, foolish, ignorant, go-to-the-principal, get-in-trouble, ruin-your-life BAD. Whether all of that was true (it wasn’t) is immaterial, because that was my fear. That’s how I felt. Perhaps some of you can relate!

Then, there is our biological wiring, which, according to Dr. Daniel Kahnemann (Nobel Prize winning author and psychologist) means we humans tend to overestimate risk, and underestimate our ability to handle undesirable outcomes.

The result? In our need for certainty, we find ourselves paralyzed. We struggle to take action, and we worry that every choice is the wrong one.

If you find yourself stalled in your job search, is it possible that a concern about making a “bad” choice is keeping you frozen where you are? Are you looking for certainty when there is none to be had?

In my experience, there are a couple of things that really help me get in a space to make a choice and take action. Here’s what I do:

Look at the choice, change, or action, as the best option “for now,” not forever.

Remind myself that I have made so many good and great choices! Emphasize those.

Remember that even the wrong choices are rarely all bad, and I’m capable of making things work out.

Look at it this way: The only thing you can be truly sure of is that if you don’t make a decision – if you don’t choose – you will remain right where you are. Is that what you want?

Cheers to your career!


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