Deciding Not to Decide (E12)

When it comes to decision-making, what you spend your time doing is often equally important as what you spend your time not doing.


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by Amber Beam in Personal Development, Podcast
March 8, 2016

In episode 12 of The Art of Personal Growth Podcast, I discuss three behaviors that are more about not doing something, than doing: what you won’t spend your time on (Eff it!), the manual tasks that drain your decision-making powers (Automate), and the situations that can lead to perpetuating frustration (Be patient).Often when we talk about personal growth, we add habits and reminders and new things to think about like additional toppings on a cheeseburger — sometimes we have to take toppings off too, to get the best burger possible. Check out each of the three not-doing resources I cover in episode 12 below.

Eff It

I started this week’s episode by sharing two resources: Tomas Laurinavicius’ Huffington Post article titled ‘Write Down Your ‘F*ck It’ List to Avoid Regrets in Life,’ and his inspiration, Scott Jones’ TED Talk ‘What’s On your F*ck It List?

For the child-friendly household, I refer to this as an ‘Eff It’ list, and spent time discussing why having a list of things you don’t do is just as important as having a list of things you want to do.

It’s important to have an ‘Eff It’ list that we can refer to. Sometimes, we don’t have to say ‘yes’ to everything — saying ‘eff it’ can be equally empowering. What can you say ‘eff it’ to today?


In this week’s Self-Help Crash Test Dummy Experiment, I tested some of the behavioral economics that economist Shlomo Benartzi lays out in his powerful TED Talk, ‘Saving for Tomorrow, Tomorrow.’ Mr. Benartzi shows how research supports the idea that most people will make healthy future choices when we don’t have to put effort into them. The more we can automate wise decisions, the better we will fare.

I tested this theory in two ways: by taking my tax refund and immediately putting it toward an outstanding credit card balance, and by setting up a system to take my most recent pay raise and put it toward retirement. These tasks weren’t fully automated, but they were also simple enough that I didn’t struggle to accomplish them.

When faced with a situation or task that seems tedious or unpleasant, try automating it. If you don’t have to decide to do the task, you’re more likely to succeed.

Be Patient

I ended this episode with a powerful quote, a Chinese Proverb.

If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will avoid 100 days of sorrow.

This is a good reminder that many times, responding in the heat of the moment doesn’t make it better: our emotions can cloud our judgement and prevent us from responding rationally and in our best interests.

The next time you feel hot-headedness bubbling to the surface, try to pause instead of reacting. You may not avoid 100 days of sorrow, but you’ll likely avoid at least some sorrow.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks for joining me this week. I’d love to hear your thoughts, please leave an honest review for The Art of Personal Growth podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are super helpful to tailoring the content of the show and I read them all! They also matter in the rankings of the show.

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It's Time for a Better Career Change!

Don't Put Your Happiness on Hold!

Start Now!