decision making

Future Fear ~ Don’t Let it Paralyze You

Every day of our lives we are all faced with decisions that need to be made. Some decisions will seem small and somewhat insignificant like what we’re going to eat for dinner or what clothes we are to wear, yet they still have consequences. If you consistently decide to eat too much of the wrong type of food for example then you’ll start to gain weight and your health could be affected.

At times though we can be faced with much bigger decisions like whether to apply for or take a certain job, whether to buy a house, whether to have children or even whether to move to another part of the world. These decisions are quite clearly going to have a huge impact on your life and in some cases it’s impossible to change your mind once you’ve made them.When faced with decisions as big as these many people get hit with ‘Future Fear’, a fear of choosing the wrong future.

Future fear can be so daunting that it often renders its subjects paralyzed and rather than facing up to the big choices we all have to make in life, future fear can prevent us from making a decision at all. I came across the term future fear in a film I watched when I was a lad and it’s stayed with me because as a person I tend to weigh up every big decision a million times before making it. Although thinking hard about big decisions is a wise thing to do, there’s also an inherent danger for over analyzers like me.

As an over analyzer I tend to look at every possible negative outcome that might occur when taking a certain course of action. The problem with this personality trait is that almost every decision we make in life has a potential negative outcome. If you choose to get married for example there’s a chance that you could end up divorced, if you choose to start your own business there might be times when you have little or no work, if you choose to buy a house then there’s a possibility you could buy the wrong house, every decision has a possible negative outcome. The big question is whether you’ll let these potential negative outcomes correctly influence your decision or whether you’ll let them paralyze you with fear?

Life is a Journey

I can’t help but feel a bit cheesy when I write subtitles like that but it’s true, life is a journey and being on a journey implies that you’re going somewhere or doing something. I mentioned earlier that I first heard the term ‘Future Fear’ when I was younger. I was actually about 17 when I watched the film in question and I was just starting out in adult life. At 17 it seemed as though I had all the time in the world, now that I’m 28 I’m starting to realise that’s not necessarily the case and I’m sure I’ll get slaughtered in the comments by some of my slightly older readers for suggesting that 28 is anywhere near old. In just over 10 years though I’ve realised that life can pass you by pretty quickly and if you’re afraid to make a decision or are too slow to adjust, then the effects of indecision won’t take long to catch up with you.


Already at just 28 there are things I wish I’d done in life and also things I wish I hadn’t done. The good thing about the things I wish I hadn’t done, my mistakes, is that at least I’ve learned something from them. As for the things I wish I’d done, well they are now just missed opportunities. How often have you said to yourself ‘I’ll never do that again’! Your right, you probably won’t and at least you know that now. By making a decision (even if it’s a wrong one) at least you’ve gained some life experience, something to pass on to others.

Indecision is the Worst Decision

I certainly don’t think people should rush into making important decisions, not making a decision at all however can be just as bad. When faced with an important decison rest assured that if you don’t make the decision, someone or something else will and you will then have no control over the outcome. You won’t make the correct decision every time, that’s impossible but at least by making a decision, you can have some influence over the outcome of that decision and protect your interests.

What big decisions have you made/not made?

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12 Responses to Future Fear ~ Don’t Let it Paralyze You

  1. Thanks so much for the mention Adam! I can certainly relate to overanalyzing as I tend to do that myself. I look back at our decision to start our own business and I wonder why we waited so long. Fear can be a strong thing, the key is to not let it control you.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Discover it™ Card Review: A Good Option to Have in Your WalletMy Profile

  2. I try to think about the future when I make decisions and if my “future self” will thank me or not for my choices. But I also try and think about my “now self” and just making a decision that makes sense. Because that’s all that you can really do. Or like my friend used to say, “Make a decision. Live with the consequences. Let’s go.”
    TB at BlueCollarWorkman recently posted..Demolishing Marble FloorsMy Profile

    • I like that saying TB and you’re right, you can only really go with the information you have available at the time. How to interpret that information, well that’s the tough bit!

  3. AverageJoe says:

    Wow! This might be the best post I’ve read this week.

    You reminded me of a quote from motivational expert Tony Robbins, that the key to success in life is to make decisions faster. You’ll gain the ability to make good decisions as you go…but by making some decisions you’ll push past fear and give yourself no choice but to actually do something with your life.
    AverageJoe recently posted..Pat Flynn Lets Go – Two Guys and Your Money Episode #35My Profile

    • Thanks Joe, that means a lot coming from you. It’s funny how sometimes we can put off making decisions for years and then by the time we make them we realise just how much we’ve missed out on by not making them earlier.

  4. Jim says:

    Paralysis by Analysis! So many people over analyze the possible outcomes of making a certain decision and subsequently do not make the move. It’s kinda like buying real estate, we look back at the property values 10 years ago and think, how did I not buy that house then, its worth twice as much now!! Gotta be able to be a good judge of what the future holds! Good Post!
    Jim recently posted..What Apple Inc. Can Do With It’s Cashflow “Problem”.My Profile

    • It’s funny how many people have mentioned that exact regret to me recently. Even if they’ve made a little money on their house they still wish they’d have bought 5-10 years earlier, oh if only we could see into the future!

  5. Karen Bryan says:

    Adam – I’m a bit like you in that I tend to over analyse before making decisions. You’re never going to make the right/best decision every time. You just hope that you manage that at least 50% of the time.
    Karen Bryan recently posted..Cheaper to Get New Vodafone Pay Monthly Contract With Free Phone Than Sim OnlyMy Profile

  6. You can’t live your life based on fear. I think sometimes we all tend to worry about the future but I try always think of the worst possible outcome and be prepared for it. It makes worrying less so. I always think of this quote for Napoleon Hill. “Never stop to think about your worries, for they will catch up with you quickly enough unless you outrun them.”

    I think this puts in perspective
    Kevin Watts @Graduatingfromdebt recently posted..Practical Guide to Going to CollegeMy Profile

    • Yeah that’s a great quote Kevin. I think it’s good to weigh things up but if it stops you from making a decision at all then it’s counter productive, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet.

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