Today’s Challenge: Decision ADD and the Tao of the Cow

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“So what is it that you’re going to do away with about yourself today?” Anne asked, as I WhatsApped Mike Rothman’s brilliant challenge to her.

“Not sure yet… maybe my constant wavering, deciding-redeciding, fear of commitment to something…” I mused.

“Haha! You’re not even sure about which part of being indecisive you want to get rid of… you can’t commit to admitting you’re non-committal!”

So I suppose that puts me at step one: admitting that maybe I have a little issue with decisions and commitment. (Anyone who’s ever dined with or dated me can probably agree that this may be a good part of myself to off.) It would be easy to decide to be more decisive. To declare each action with reckless abandon. To feet-first my way into each passion. To pro-con my mind into balance. To stop worrying and “just enjoy.” But doing that is just quelling symptom after symptom without looking at what lies beneath.

The past six weeks in India have forced me to think differently about commitments and my decision ADD (DDD perhaps?). Some decisions here are committed to with little question, as a father passes his caste and profession down to his son, and parents negotiate the terms of a daughter’s marriage. Others, from the power and job supply to the number of goats slowing traffic, take a more non-committal approach and vary on a momentary basis. It’s an environment of few constants outside of those that a family manufactures, and different ones than I’m used to as a New Yorker. So, as a solo traveler, I have had to learn to become my own constant, which is daunting for a girl with DDD.

But it’s not the decision-making that’s the problem. It’s wavering in the dusk of a decision, watching the options settle and set, wondering where each is headed and whether I should have followed. Perhaps what’s behind the wavering and wondering is a fear of having followed the wrong one.

That fear of following the wrong decision is part of every day life, especially in a world of billions of choices, and it’s accentuated in this constellation of chaos and change. And while I believe, intellectually, that there’s no wrong decision, and that each decision is a stepping stone to a needed experience, sometimes my actions don’t follow those beliefs. I hem and haw, validate via five other opinions and plot Plan B’s (and C’s) instead of just deciding and doing.

Superb experiences manifest at every moment, but can be hard to see if clouded with worry about whether they’re the right or wrong decisions to make. I’m learning that they just are. And I just have to commit to what’s in front of me. I’ve had some amazing decisions to make in the past 24 hours, which have led me to be a guest at the glampiest camel camp on earth, and to attempt to plan an amazing mini-adventure that could (hopefully!) push back my India departure.

“We’re people that attract the right people and right experiences, no matter where in the world we are,” my friend Neet (who surprised me with a phone call, presenting the latter superb experience) reminded me today. “You don’t have to do anything to make it happen. Just be where you are.”

And say yes to excess, I guess.

So ciao for now, DDD. I’m going to remedy this decision-disorder by taking some cues from the roadside cows: amble, follow your nose, stop and chew, and don’t chase trucks.

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One response to “Today’s Challenge: Decision ADD and the Tao of the Cow

  1. As a father of three differing daughters I’ve always been puzzled by your hesitancy to commit to ordering from a menu while your sisters are impulsive in all things, always know what they want and make it known with alacrity. Put it down to genetic variations. You can’t blame the stars as they are Capricorns and you are a Leo and supposed master of all situations !! On the other hand your standard question at breakfast was “What’s for dinner ?” so there is no lack of curiosity or interest on your part.

    This is a very good challenge for you and I look forward to you being firm and first in ordering dinner in a restaurant. You will enjoy it all the more and the waiters will appreciate not having to keep their pens poised aloft, along with their rolling eyes, while they await your final choice between the three or four dishes that tickle your fancy.

    You have trained me to know at breakfast what I want for dinner. My suggestion is that you savor the opportunity of ordering a delicious meal well in advance. Not only will you be prepared but will enjoy the experience all the more. Anticipation sharpens the appetite for all good things, so IMAGINE.

    Bon appétit,

    Pxxx

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