The Weekly Resolve Email 43 – Introducing A New 10/10/10

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Hey, Darren here.

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Hi, decision-makers,

“No amount of anxiety can change the future. No amount of regret can change the past.”

The clarity these two statements bring is both obvious — and horrible for those who fall into their trap. Some argue it’s easier to escape addiction than it is to free the mind of regret and anxiety. With our minds beholden to their spell, the outcome is always one of indecision.

We become stuck in the present, unable to let go of the past and fearful of the future.

The root causes of indecision are often tainted by the pain of regret and anxiety.

Regret can linger like an unpleasant smell from an unclean fridge, choking you every time you open the door. The bulb shines a light on your worst decisions, reminding you of what could or should have been. Anxiety is more subtle, like a mouse nibbling at a block of mouldy cheese, it just keeps picking away until it consumes you. The uneasiness grows in you, like the stomach of the mouse devouring the cheese until it dominates your thoughts. When even small, but significant choices arise, these twin emotions nudge and poke you, teasing you to flip and flop through your options.

Our lives become paralysed by feelings of remorse and apprehension.

Change the order of emotions

With anxiety and regret fostering more uncertainty within ourselves, we need to do something to change the narrative. Instead of letting them dictate our emotive states to us, we need to harness their power to strengthen our ability to make decisions.

Yes, these emotive states can help us improve our decisions, not worsen them.

How, I hear you cry?

Regret always follows a decision, whereas anxiety precedes it. What if we swapped them around? What if, as part of the decision-making process we thought of regret in the context of looking back at the decision we’re about to make? We could position our anxieties by considering the future after we made our choice. Now, remorse and apprehension become allies rather than enemies.

The shift in being aware of these emotions before you decide gives you a unique view of potential outcomes.

To lock this approach in, we need to establish them within a framework — and the 10/10/10 works perfectly.

10 minutes / 10 months / 10 years

Most people know the future-considering 10/10/10 decision framework.

“What are the consequences of each of my options in ten minutes? In ten months? In ten years?” The logic is powerful, as the perspective each of these questions brings gives new information to the decision we’re pondering. Considering the consequences forces us to face our apprehension full on. But, unlike the uncertainty anxiety brings, considering the consequences within the time frames of ten minutes, ten months, and then ten years gives us a context to structure our thoughts.

The element of time abates the haphazard nature of our anxiety.

What about regret?

The question changes to one of feeling within the same time constraints. “How would I feel today if I had made this decision ten minutes ago? Ten months ago? Ten years ago?” Again, new perspectives become known as we ponder our feelings within the context of time.

Time changes everything.

Perspectives shift as the circumstances become seen through the lens of time.

We have two questions, one of which uses the emotion of regret to conduct a thought exercise. The other, to confront the potential outcomes and consider the second and third-order effects as we accent life. Both, empower decision-making.

The way regret and anxiety can overwhelm us — and destroy our ability to make good decisions is frightening. No amount of either can change the past or the future — unless you change when you think about them.

It leads us to these two 10/10/10 questions to ask before deciding.

Anxiety preventing:

“What are the consequences of each of my options in ten minutes? In ten months? In ten years?”

Regret preventing:

“How would I feel today if I had made this decision ten minutes ago? Ten months ago? Ten years ago?”


New for you

The importance of your decision-making: The importance of your decision-making is often lost on us as we become consumed by the challenges of life. Here, I give some vital context. Read the full article here.


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Keep on making great decisions!

Darren Matthews

Founder, The Resolve Blog

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