health

Do you make quiet or noisy decisions? It's time to change how you make big life choices. 

Every single day, we all make hundreds of small decisions.

Which way will I drive to work to avoid traffic? Will I have a third coffee? How will I respond to that email? Can I pick up the kids in time? What’s for dinner? What should I watch on the telly? Should I stay up for one more episode?

Then, there are big decisions. You know, the ones you grapple with for days, weeks and maybe even months. Ones that wake you at 4am and make it hard to go back to sleep. Ones that could alter the lives of your loved ones, and push yours in a completely different direction.

These big decisions, or indecisions, can be crippling. And if you find making life’s big choices especially difficult, there’s a theory that perfectly explains why.

WATCH: Here’s the simplest, most accurate explanation of anxiety you’ll ever watch. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia

This theory revolves around one question: Do you make quiet decisions, or noisy decisions?

Gah! Another decision! Allow us to explain.

Life coach, speaker and author of the bestselling book The 5 Second Rule, Mel Robbins, believes there are only two kinds of decisions: quiet and noisy ones. In a recent Instagram video, she says figuring out which ones you’re making is the key to making great decisions that move you forward.

“If you’re stuck, you are making noisy decisions. Noisy decisions are driven by forces outside of your control: your past, other people’s opinions, negative patterns of thinking and your own fears and self-doubt,” Robbins told her one million Instagram followers.

“Because noisy decisions are driven by forces outside of your control, they always keep you feeling like you are out of control in your life. YOU want to break up, but the noise of their upset keeps you from doing it. You want to sign up for that class but the noise of your doubt makes you push it off. You want to quit your job but the noise of fear keeps you from doing it.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Robbins goes on to explain the secret to taking control is learning how to make quiet decisions.

“If you get quiet for a second, and tune out that noise, you’ll be able to hear your own voice. It knows what to do. A quiet decision is courageous, intentional and harder to make. It may disappoint someone else, it may force you to stand alone and take a risk but it also propels you forward toward the things you quietly envision for your life and your future.”

“In any area in your life where you feel stuck, as soon as you feel the noise getting louder, pause for a second and dial the volume down. Tune into yourself and ask, ‘what do I want?’ Then listen. Listen closely. You’ll hear yourself whisper the answer quietly back. You see something larger for yourself. You see a different decision than the one that keeps you stuck. That’s how you make a quiet decision.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mel Robbins (@melrobbins) on


It’s an interesting point that makes a lot of sense, but you might be wondering… how do you actually tell the noisy voices to pipe down?

ADVERTISEMENT

We were too, so we asked Amanda Gordon, Armchair Psychology Clinical Director and Endorsed Clinical and Health Psychologist, for her advice.

“When there is a lot of extraneous noise, like pressure to make a decision quickly or conform to a certain standard, that kind of decision-making is very different to the reflective decisions that can take time,” she told Mamamia.

“Quiet decisions are always going to lead you to feel more confident that you’ve made the right decision. Take some time everyday to quietly reflect on what you’re doing and what’s important to you, and you’re more likely to make good decisions.”

While Gordon says it’s important to consider other people’s needs when making some decisions, she ultimately asked, “why should another person’s needs supersede your own?”

“Unless you know yourself well, you won’t know how to make a good decision for yourself anyway. The worst mistake is trying to figure out what’s right for you by asking someone else – you have to work out what’s right for you by consulting yourself.”

Practically-speaking, a ‘brain dump’ can be a great way to put that advice into practice. Gordon advised writing down literally whatever comes into your head when thinking about a decision, no matter what it is. Then later, you can organise whatever came out of the brain dump.

She added, “Within all those thoughts, there will likely be a solution you didn’t know you had.”

So, if you’ve been sitting on a decision, stuck for what to do, try ‘cutting out the noise’. With any luck, the right decision will come to you quietly. And even if it doesn’t turn out to be the right decision, at least it’s one you can fully own yourself.

Anxiety can leave you exhausted and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Introducing The Anxiety Course – designed to help you grow your confidence, identify your triggers and reclaim your life. Find out more here. 

If you think you may be struggling with your mental health, please contact your general practitioner. If you’re based in Australia, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636. For more on Amanda Gordon, visit the Armchair Psychology website.

Feature image: Getty.

Do you think you make more noisy or quiet decisions? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

00:00 / ???