Maybe I should start a sideÂ business. Maybe I should make time to pick up my painting hobby. Maybe I’ll be there. Maybe we should do lunch. Whatever the question, “maybe” is a powerfulÂ mental shieldÂ that prevents action. It’s a simpleÂ answer that allows usÂ to feel satisfied in giving an idea consideration but the confidenceÂ to do nothing in response.
We all have “realities:”
- I have bills to pay.
- I haveÂ deadlines.
- I have a status to keep up with.
- I have to look a certain way.
- I have a safe job.
- I have neighbors to keep up with.
- I have parents to impress.
- I’ve invested too much money in my education.
Hard answers are easy to avoidÂ and hide under the noncommittal maybe. The non-answerÂ reframes our decisions because itÂ allows bias in our response. This is directly related to one of theÂ typical issuesÂ in theÂ decision making processes The Heath brothers discuss theÂ in DecisiveÂ as:
- Framing the choices too narrowly.
- ConfirmingÂ our hunch with only data that supports it.
- Being overly-emotional in the response.
- Being over-confident in our ability to predict the result.
Maybe you’re in the midst of a long, grueling work stretch, and you need nothing more than to take a long weekend with your family. The stacks of work on your desk tell you “no,Â I have too much to do.” Sometimes the little mental exercise of reframing the “maybe” intoÂ what if can make all of the difference in the world. What if you took the vacation with the family just for the weekend? What if you explain to your boss it’s going to be your top priority next week?
“What if” is a different frameÂ of thinking; it reframes the question and allows you to envision the hypothetical. What if I do start the side business? What if I pick up painting as a hobby?Â Some of the more interesting decisions that I’ve made resulted fromÂ entertaining the decision that is contrary to my first hunch.
What if you rethink yourÂ next big decision?