Too Many Ideas? Here’s What to Do When You Can’t Choose

I could feel a frustration in her voice and see it in her eyes.

“I’ve never felt as though I can’t find my passion.” she said, “My problem is the opposite. I have too many passions. I have too many great ideas. I just can’t choose and actually do something. That’s where I get stuck.”

You wouldn’t believe how often I hear this, and variations of it. It shouldn’t be a surprise because most of us have felt it at some point.

We can often get stuck wavering between options and hoping to find the perfect solution. We have all these ideas but we’re hoping that one idea will trump all of the others and win out as our one and only passion.

The problem is this: we’re looking at the ideas and trying to decide between them when no idea is going to change how we feel.

Instead of asking: which should I pursue? You need to ask: why can’t I decide?

What keeps you feeling like you can’t choose? What’s the fear that keeps you stuck? What are the stories that you are telling and retelling yourself about choosing, missing out, or whatever it might be?

In the comments, have you ever felt stuck with too many ideas? What’d you do to find your way? Click here to comment.

(Photo by Jay Mantri/CC Zero)

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5 Comments

  1. Ryan Kuja August 21, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    You’ve put helpful language to what seems to be THE story of my adult life as it relates to finding meaningful work. So many desires, so many pulls, endless thoughts of pursuit with very little actual movement. Thanks for the words, Dan. You nailed it, yet again 🙂 So glad you chose something and moved forward into helping the rest of us on our journey toward more meaning in our lives and work 🙂

    Reply
    1. Dan Cumberland August 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      Thanks so much, Ryan! It means a lot to have you say so. Hopefully one of the take aways here is that your experience is our experience— that you’re not alone in the struggle. 🙂

      The task for you (and me) is to continue to unearth and explore the narratives that keep us caught between the options.

      Reply
  2. DAMN March 4, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    THATS THE WHOLE REASON IM HERE I CANNOT DECIDE AND I WAS RELYING ON YOU TO TELL ME

    Reply
    1. Dan Cumberland March 6, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      Sorry to disappoint, but it sounds like there’s more going on here, right? You can weigh the positives and negatives and explore the options, but often what keeps us from choosing is not about the choices at all, but about fear and insecurity. It’s time to face yours 🙂

      Reply
  3. Judith June 12, 2017 at 6:11 am

    Dan,
    I’m first of all relieved to know that I’m not the only one on the planet with this issue. I too was looking for answers on your page…

    I think about what will gratify me, that is, which of the ideas will satisfy my most fundamental needs and desires most quickly.

    This past Friday I listed the top 5 things I’m pursuing , that I feel passionate about . I felt I was making progress to tame my wild mind. Still, in spite of my intentions, I did very little over the weekend and woke up this morning to all of them competing for my attention – “do me,”, “no, do me instead,” they seem to call out.

    My head burned and I prayed to God for help once again. Then I did a little tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) for a few seconds. I felt a little relief and I thought about finding a practitioner.

    I could feel the anxiety and fear. Anxiety about how much time I lose in deciding which will bring me income and personal fulfillment and fear about the consequences of having no money.

    It’s clearly the feelings of anxiety and fear that I need to work on – not what should I do. I’ll do some more tapping on my own. It works.

    Reply

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