Have you noticed that when we make life changing decisions we always go through the same thought process as we do when we buy shoes?
A friend posted this to his Facebook page today:
I was about to give him a witty reply. Then thought mmmm.. this will make a great blog post for 1975.
The Shoe Shop Experience
When hunting for shoes we trek from shop to shop until we find that killer pair of shoes that make our mind run wild with imaginary scenes of every step we will take in those shoes.
We focus on those shoes. We pick them up. We smell them. We feel the fabric. We look at the texture. We watch how light interacts with them. We check for comfort. We fall in love with the idea of what they will do for us.
We know those shoes will get us to where we want to be in life.
Then, just before we reach for a credit card, we pause and think: what if a better pair of shoes exists?
We leave the shoe shop empty handed. Motivated to find an better pair.
We spend a full day walking from shop to shop to shop to shop to look at every pair of shoe we can find. Every shoe we look at is compared to that first pair we fell in love with.
We see a pair of black shoes. Our inner voice says ‘That other pair is black and they capture the light better.‘
We see a pair of shoes with a taller heel. We think ‘I could brake my neck in them.‘
We see a pair of shoes with shorter heels. We say to ourselves, ‘That other pair will make me taller.‘
We see the same pair of shoes in a different shop. What do we do? We tell ourselves that this pair is shabby compared to the first pair; and we look for reasons to not buy from this shop.
We feel guilty about buying the shoes from a different shop just because of no more real a reason than ‘I saw them there first‘.
The only factors that sway us to buy ‘that killer pair of shoes’ from a different shop are price and the charm of the sales assistant with a gorgeous smile.
If we have no clothes to match those shoes we want, we buy new jeans, tops and jackets to match the bloody things.
We tell ourselves the shoes will look great with the 20 year old pair of tatty old Levis hidden in the bottom of a box in the attic. We don’t care those tatty old jeans are too tight for us. We just want those shoes.
Any pair of shoes we look at after ‘those shoes’ is compared to those shoes we fell in love with first.
In every comparison we do one thing: we justify the purchase of that first pair. We are not looking to buy any other pair. We want that first pair of shoes that made us look fucking awesome in our imagination.
Those shoes will make us the envy of the town.
That is the shoe shop experience.
The Decision Bitch
Every tough, life changing decision we make is resolved exactly the same way we buy shoes: we spend hours, days, weeks or months justifying the very first decision our mind settled on.
The answer is decided so why the hell do we spend so long worrying about justifying our decision?
We decide to change job then spend 6 months pushing ourselves to jump ship.
We take 6 months to accept the decision to break up from a dead relationship. We tell ourselves we are breaking up slowly so we can make things easier for the other person.
That new hairstyle we want, we spend months trying to work out what to wear it with even before the hairdresser has touched our heads.
We nag ourselves into fits of worry and mental battles while trying to figure out the question and circumstances that give us excuse to implement big decisions.
That is The Decision Bitch.
We know the question that gave rise to a decision. We don’t need to manufacture the circumstances that validate the question and justify the answer.
The next time I find myself searching for reasons behind a decision I will shortcut all the thinking, all the worrying and all the battles and just run with the choice impulsively.
If friends question my decisions, then I hope they are comfortable with me enough to voice those questions and to help me see where I might be wrong.
An interesting point about the The Decision Bitch is that it can be used to predict behaviour and direction in life. All we need to look for is the question that gave rise to current actions and the circumstance that will enable the question’s answer to be enacted. This applies to both self and other.