Five Words To Cure Your Indecisiveness

What would make you happy?

May Tang
3 min readFeb 17, 2021


Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

I’m chronically indecisive.

My indecisiveness doesn’t discriminate. No matter the size or consequence of the decision, the agony is the same.

Let me tell you about my curtains.

In 2016, I bought my first house. I was excited to finally have a space to decorate and put my personal touches on, but within 24 hours of moving in, I was the victim of a home invasion.

Feeling exposed, I needed a quick fix to cover my windows and feel safe again. In one of the unpacked boxes, I found a roll of wrapping paper and some blue painter’s tape and went to work.

For two years, my windows wore beige wrapping paper featuring a repeating pattern of snowmen holding presents, candy canes, and ornaments.

It’s not like I didn’t try to find proper window coverings. I bought and returned at least 6 sets of curtains, each with its faults — too long, too short, too heavy, too sheer, too bold, too plain.

I even considered custom draperies, until the quote came back at $15,000.

After visiting nearly every home decor store in the city, I settled (mostly out of defeat) on IKEA curtains — a blue and grey colour-block set for my bedroom and a set with grey and yellow vertical wavy lines for the patio door. Both have grown on me over the years. For the rest of the house, I threw on some basic white blinds from Home Depot with a half-hearted promise I’d upgrade them…I haven’t.

Still not convinced I’m indecisive?

Here are a few more examples:

  • I’ve contemplated buying a car for the last 3 years
  • By the time I’m ready to place my order on Uber Eats, the restaurant’s closed
  • I’ve considered adopting a dog for the last 2 years (Who hesitates to adopt a puppy? Apparently, I do.)

Do I need to continue?

In my Google search for strategies to overcome indecision, I came across a quote by philosopher and psychologist, William James:

“There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.” ~ William James

Ugh. Heavy. But he’s not wrong. Chronic indecisiveness is misery. It’s exhausting, all-consuming and often leaves you dissatisfied.

I don’t wish it upon my worst enemy.

What I’ve learned about my indecisiveness is that it’s rooted in fear — fear of making the wrong decision. In the examples above, was there even a “wrong” decision? No, not really. At least not of grave consequence.

Somewhere along the way my perfectionism and self-doubt took over and I lost touch with my intuition.

When I recently tried to explain my indecisiveness to a friend he asked me, “What would make you happy?”

Five words brought my indecisiveness to its knees.

Could it be so simple?

Let’s give this theory a try.

  • Would buying a car make me happy? Yes. I live in the suburbs and rely on someone else’s schedule to borrow their car. Freedom of mobility is key.
  • Would ordering or making [insert current craving] make me happy? Yes. Food is my love language, but when faced with too many choices, I get overwhelmed with uncertainty. When in doubt, the answer is tacos.
  • Would adopting a dog make me happy? Hell Yes! No further explanation required.

The responsible adult in me feels the need to say that not every battle with indecision should be based solely on happiness, but is it so wrong to do so when you can?

Who knows, by the time the world opens up again, maybe you’ll find me driving through the city with my dog in the passenger seat, on our way to pick up some tacos.



May Tang

I write about overcoming perfectionism, self-care, and finding my way to happiness.