The twitching leg that stops me from sleeping. The pretending to be asleep for long enough to try to fool my body as my mind tosses and turns under it’s mental duvet. Waking up. This is good. It means sleep came. Not enough to ward off decision fatigue.
In essence, I have a big decision to make about my next property investment. While there is no pressure to make a decision right now, there’s always the fear of missing a deal counteracted by the potential regret of making the wrong deal. As the say in real estate,
“The deal of a lifetime comes along every month.”
My gut tells me to do one thing. It says go. Start. Stop holding back, and do something – anything – even if it’s wrong.
My System Two brain says let’s rationalize this. Let’s make a spread sheet and evaluate things. Let’s compare the unknowns of this deal to the general unknowns of any deal.
I was five when I was first crippled by the weight of indecision. In the days when breakfast cereal was consumed unashamedly without diabetic consequence, my pancreas had worked overtime one summer. I ate as many bowls of Frosties as possible. Not just for the high, but for the tokens. Once I had enough I could enter the contest and all I had to do was choose which prize I wanted. Option A: the unfathomably vast collection of space Lego which would have kept me glued to the carpet for weeks. Option B: the trip for four to Disneyplace in Florida.
Even though I hadn’t won yet, I was already like a frog with two flies on his nose.
The Lego was what I really wanted. That was my gut talking. Then System Two brain came along and assessed the monetary value of Option B – surely higher than the Lego. The Disney trip would make my family happy, and be better value. But I wanted the Lego. The days went by. I occasionally asked for outside help in trying to decide which was the best prize. I would explain my criteria and then receive,
“Choose whichever one you want most.”
When I entered the contest and won the prize, do you know which one it was?
Exactly. I didn’t follow my gut. I didn’t follow my System Two. I didn’t decide in time to enter the contest. I kept avoiding the decision, hoping for more information or insight. I can clearly picture exactly the same situation echoing through my later life – which university offer to accept, which dating offer to accept.
So how do I escape the tyranny of indecision inducing a simultaneously hyperactive and catatonic state this time?
Firstly, I’m going to reduce any trivial decision making for the day. Lunch is now planned. I know what I’m going to eat for dinner. For a man like me with precious little routine outside the needs of the family, this is key. I know that I’ll work at home until lunch and complete my online due-diligence first. Then I’ll drive to two properties to review them. I’m going to drive to the tram, not cycle. And you know what, I’m going to make a spread sheet. That spits out a yes or no answer. Then I’ll use it again and again.
After all, I believe in the power of computers – I’m at that age which represents the meaning of life. I’m forty two. It took Deep Thought 7.5 million years to figure that out. I have 24 hours to make this decision. If it pans out right, I’ll be able to buy myself the LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon.