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Decision Making In A Time of Information Overload

Author: Chrissy Stergos, MAC, PLPC

I made a decision a few weeks ago regarding the Covid vaccine. Unless you live under a rock, you know the copious volumes of conflicting information that are out there - on the web, from your neighbors, people you meet at the park, family members… everyone has an opinion and, boy are they ready to share! I feltoverwhelmed trying to sort through it all. I needed some help to decide what was right for me.

But this post isn’t about the vaccine. I want to talk about decision making.

My story is just one example of a situation in which I needed to consider carefully, to decide wisely. Have you ever been faced with one of those? I know you have. We all have. Often, I’m confident in my own instincts, but sometimes, well… I struggle. What’s a person to do?

Well, for me, the real decision boils down to this question: “Who will I trust?”

You see, more than ever before, we have voices and opinions coming at us from an impossible number of sources. As miraculous as our brains are, they were not designed to juggle so much information coming AT US ALL THE TIME.

May I share with you something I have learned for myself and through my years of experience have passed along to many others? Know your people and the weight each voice carries in your life.

It’s fun to have a large circle of friends. You may come from a great big extensive family. You may have pastor you love, a counselor who is wise, parents who have great experience and lots of advice, friends or teammates whom you love and trust. All of them won’t possibly agree on everything, nor should they. Diverse opinion and thought, freedom of expression, those are some of the bedrocks of a free society. These make life more interesting and keep me from living in an echo chamber where only my voice and others like it are heard. Indeed, if we can agree that none of us is getting it 100% right all the time, dissenting voices might even be helpful to our growth process. I KNOW! Shocking!

Here’s what I have done and maybe it will help you too. You see, I have all those people in my life, too. They don’t all agree, and I love to hear their thoughts, to listen and try to understand and learn. But when we get right down to it, there are about a handful of people whose voices simply weigh more than the others, folks who over my history with them have earned my trust by exuding wisdom, selflessness, empathy, and a steadfastdesire for my well-being. They know me. Not just the social or public me. They know my heart, because as I have learned their trustworthiness, I’ve risked letting them know me – at my core. Their advice has proven to be wise and presence reliable. They are on my team.

Who are those people for you? Do you know? If not, today I am challenging you to consider this: Whose voices will carry the most weight in your life? Figure this out for yourself and the myriad opinions and unlimited information coming at you will begin to quiet. The cacophony will recede, and you will more readily find clarity in decisions, large or small.

As far as my example story goes, I decided that my doctor had to be among my trusted voices. Her recommendation along with the insights of “Team Chrissy” and my own gut allowed me to make a decision that feels right for me.

So, who are they, really, for you? Make a list of 3-5 trusted and wise people with whom you are in relationship. Choose thoughtfully, carefully, maybe even prayerfully. And then remember who they are. Go to them and ask their advice whenever you need help with a significant decision. These folks might not always agree with each other either, but their collective insights might help you sift through the important considerations and move forward with confidence.

When the world gets too noisy out there, know that in a world full of choices, you can trust those voices.

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