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Before, I start my ‘Chooser’s Remorse Clause” post, I want to do a quick check in with my blog followers. I have been wondering if my Life Balance blog series is time well spent on my part. This is important to me because I want to find the best possible use for my blog, and if I am not moving in the right direction, I need to know. I am considering dropping the Life Balance series. I would appreciate comments or email if you have been following this series and if you have any interest in seeing it continue. Thank you in advance for your time.

Now, on to the post!

People often fear making the wrong decision. This fear can grow to such proportions that it prevents people from taking any action, and they remain stuck in place. There is no formula for revealing the secret choice that is just right for you, or which choice comes with a guarantee. At some point, you must consider all the information you have, along with all your options, and then make a decision.

At one time or another, all of us have difficulty selecting among our many life options. When this happens, we can think in terms of choices rather than decisions. Some people think this is just playing with words, but there is more to it than that.

A choice is a selection of one thing over another – a preference. Deciding involves passing judgment, forming a definite opinion or arriving at a conclusion.  If we drop the “de” from the word decide we are left with cide. That’s the same syllable found in suicide, genocide, and homicide. With it comes an image of killing something. Sometimes, deciding can feel like a kind of murder – a killing of alternatives.

Some people, when faced with a decision, react with thoughts such as . . .

“Well, I don’t want this. I don’t want that. So, I guess, all that’s left is this.”

With that type of reasoning, they have killed off the alternatives and assumed their decision is final. The thought process goes something like this . . .

“If I decide this, I will have to live with it forever. My fate is sealed.”

No wonder deciding is tough. Thinking we must live with our decision forever is pretty scary stuff.  Deciding in this way is not a freeing experience. In fact, it might feel like entering prison. However, choosing instead of deciding can change everything.

Choosing is a process that leaves other options intact. The scenario changes when we choose instead of decide. Now, the process goes something like this . . .

“Let’s see. What do I want to do? I could do this, or that, or this. Hmm, I could even do this! Well, I’m not sure, so I’ll just choose this, for now.”

This person has left her options open. She can opt for one thing now and reconsider her choice later. At the time of reconsideration, she might choose something different. Or, she might even come up with a totally new idea. Either way, there is no harm done.

The key feature of this choosing process is that no killing takes place. Not only do the alternatives escape unharmed, they are in robust health waiting to be considered at another time. Choosing “for now” does not rule out choosing again in the future. Our options remain alive.

One tool that promotes this process is Dave Ellis’s “Chooser’s Remorse Clause.” This is similar to an early effort at consumer protection called “The Buyer’s Remorse Clause.” Such measures date back to the days when some door-to-door salesmen used tricks, manipulations and half-truths to peddle a year’s supply of soap or enough cutlery to require a mortgage on your home. In response to this trickery, some states passed laws stating that within, say, three days, you could change your mind. You could return the items and tear up the sales agreement. You owned nothing, and you were not obligated to pay a penny.

A chooser’s remorse clause is much the same. The advantage of using one is that it offers you the freedom to experiment.

“Well, I’m not sure which option to pick.” You can say. “But today, I feel like this one.”

After choosing that option, you can sleep on it. You can also talk to other people about it and see how it feels after some hours pass. And, if that choice does not sit right at the end of your remorse period – whether that’s three hours or three weeks – you’ll know it. Then, you can choose again with no penalty or guilt.

When you exercise your right to change your mind, some people might accuse you of being fickle. “I’m not fickle.” You can reply. “I’m merely exercising my chooser’s remorse clause.”

Even when a choice makes it past your remorse period, you can still review it later. After you have chosen, you can review that choice every month or every year. At those times, you can step back, get the big picture, and see if your choice still makes sense.

Note that invoking the chooser’s remorse clause is not the same as being wishy-washy or uncommitted. We can be fully committed to trying an alternative or experimenting with a strategy. We can play full out, even as we keep our options open.

This is your life. You have the right to choose and to change your mind along the road to fulfillment.

What keeps you from exercising your right to change your mind? How can you overcome that obstacle and make the choice that is best for you at this time?

The information in this blog post is modified from the book “Human Being: A Manual for Happiness, Health, Love, and Wealth” by Dave Ellis.

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