The Only Bad Decision Is Indecision

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It’s one of the questions I’m asked most often…

What if I choose wrong?

People are so freaked out about making the wrong choice.

Traveling down the wrong road.

“Wasting” time, money, energy on the wrong thing.

Newsflash. With rare exception. The only bad decision is indecision, followed by inaction.

It doesn’t matter whether you choose right. There is no wrong. No such thing as wasted time, money or energy…IF:

(1) you commit to being present and engaged in whatever you’re doing, and

(2) you approach everything with curiosity and openness, always a student.

So maybe you took the “wrong” job?! What can you LEARN from the experience of living in a place of misaligned action? What skills, resources, relationships can you cultivate doing the “wrong” thing that’ll advise and accelerate your quest to get closer to the “right” thing?

What is your “serendipitous detour” teaching you about what you do want, don’t want, excel at, suck at, love, hate, yearn for or abhor?

The only way the time, money and energy you put into something that’s not quite right is wasted is if you choose not to see and build upon what you’ve gained along the way.

In the end, the only bad decision is indecision, because it leads to inaction. And without action, there’s no data. No experience of life. No information to serve as fuel for evolution, connection, joy, progress. No growth. Just gray.

Get out of your head and into the world!

As Joseph Campbell said…

Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.

So, go ahead. Stumble. Decide. Act. You cannot be wrong, unless you act without intention, presence and openness to evolution.

The only wrong choice is deciding not to choose.

When you do that, you automatically lose.

What say you?

With gratitude,


P.S. – Before someone brings it up in the comments. Yes, there are rare exceptions to this. The decision to commit violent crime may be one. Very likely a bad call. Especially in it’s impact on the victims. But even then, there can be immense growth and opportunity that comes out of this.

Witness the journey of Christian Howes, a child classical-violin prodigy who’s 4 years in prison introduced him to a world of humanity and music he’d never known, and led him to shift gears and eventually become the world’s greatest jazz violinist after being released.

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19 responses

19 responses to “The Only Bad Decision Is Indecision”

  1. This is so true Jonathan. I agree that indecision is in FACT a decision to do nothing. I’ve always attempted to approach life as though the only mistake that happens is the one where we don’t learn something and experience growth. I also find it helpful to consider that every decision is a trade-off and that every trade-off carries an “opportunity cost.” If anyone’s interested I just wrote a blog post about it myself at : And if I haven’t mentioned it lately–THANK YOU for all the great work you are doing for the world (and I LOVE your interviews!) ~Kathy

  2. Tim Brownson says:

    Before we left the UK for the US people were asking me all the time, “What if you don’t like it?”

    And I always replied in the same way, “We come home, but at least we’ll know and not be wondering what if we had for the rest of our days”

  3. Jennifer says:

    I was grappling earlier this week – trying to decide if moving my family 500 miles away was worth the sacrifices like the answering the unknowns – where to live, can we afford it, where will the kids go to school, will it be a good school, where will my husband work, what if it takes a long time to find work….all so that I can have a great career. We’ll figure it out I suppose!

  4. Satified says:

    This post reminds me of a post i wrote a while ago. Not making a decision is a decision in itself. Often times, it is not about which decision is right, but about making the one you choose the right one. Indeed life is not risky- not making the most out of it is.

  5. Your post brings to mind the video game Frogger. The objective is to get that frog across several lanes of traffic safely to the other side of the road.

    Well, lots of us are like the frog and our big ideas can feel like the oncoming semi about to smoosh us. So we keep waiting. And the cars and semis keep coming.

    But it’s just fear. I am learning a lot about going fearward these days… I like the Hafiz saying, Fear knocked on the door and faith answered it, no one was there.
    Thanks Jonathan!

  6. Totally agree Jonathan. Sometimes people get stuck for a variety of reasons including lack of complete information, ambiguity, sheer complexity of the problem, multiple stakeholders, etc. Even in those situations making a decision based on what information is available is much better than making none. You need to move forward so that additional information becomes visible. Being stationary does not yield anything actionable.

    I do enjoy your posts and look forward to more.

  7. E. Foley says:

    So true! I referred to it as my right to be “young & stupid” but I’m continuing to do it into my 30s, so maybe it needs a new name. 😉

  8. Heather says:

    Love this, such great timing. That unknown or undecided place really is the worst. I have had to and am in the midst of making some decisions that are not fully easy but going forward with them the best I can and deciding!

  9. I remember a conversation similar to this – maybe in Boulder – and it turned everything around for me. Thanks for writing about this Jonathan. It’s a concept that I wish you could TEACH but it seems you just have to gain by experience.

  10. Totally agree. In fact I’ll throw my hat in the ring and choose to be authentic with myself.

    Then my choices don’t have to come from my head (which is a scary place!) – they come from the heart and that’s a “no brainer” place to choose from! Thx for the nudge.

  11. Annching says:

    This is what I live my life by. Do rather than regret, because you can always change your mind. Every decision leads to an experience, whether good or bad, and that’s the journey called life. Without action, we would really just not be living at all!

  12. Perfect timing as I have project paralysis over a new blog/venture right now. I’ll just do it.

    Thanks for the solid post.


  13. I needed this today. I often struggle with paralysis and lost sleep out of fear of making a mistake — which is the biggest mistake of all.
    Perfectionism sucks!

  14. Kay Ross says:

    Well said, Jonathan! And I find that one of the best tools for developing a willingness to take bold action, be present and engaged in whatever you’re doing, and approach everything with curiosity and openness, is improvisation. The improv mindset of “Yes, And…” is delightfully applicable in just about every area of life and business (but it doesn’t mean jumping off a cliff just because everyone else is doing it). So my advice is: go to an improv workshop.

  15. Otiti says:

    This concept really came home to me over the last few weeks as I promoted my first online course ever.

    Things didn’t go the way I expected, and I found myself bummed out over my “lack” of success.

    But during Skype chats with a couple friends, I realised that I’d already taken the biggest step of all: I put myself out there and was willing to fail if it’d bring me closer to where I wanted to be.

    Inaction is the worst thing ever, because it suffocates the spirit and bogs you down with all the stuff you “could” have done if you’d just trusted yourself and made the leap.

    So thank you for reminding me of this, and putting it out there for everyone else to read and absorb.

  16. Mike Kawula says:

    Loved: The only bad decision is indecision, followed by inaction.

    Analysis Paralysis is unfortunately the death to many wantrepreneurs becoming entrepreneurs.

    Great Post as always!

  17. Yes! This is so true Jonathan and I see the evidence all around me. People are so scared of making the wrong decision that they get stuck in their heads and end up never making any progress.

    For the most part we greatly overestimate how much we can anticipate the outcome in our heads while at the same time underestimating how much possibility is really hidden in just picking an option and going with it.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  18. CJ Schepers says:

    Loved this blog, Jonathan. I’ve learned the hard way that inaction usually creates more delay and anxiety versus taking some kind of action.

  19. […] The only bad decision, is indecision. Followed by inaction. A-men to that. […]