No decision IS a decision

Elderly guidance counselor Eloise Warren looked at me across her long desk through impossibly long eyelashes and said, “It’s time to declare a major.” I had selected the no-pressure “Undecided” for my entire freshman year at Purdue and was getting almost straight A’s. I was succeeding at Undecided! Now she was pushing me to declare my intentions for my future.

She rocked back on her chair and folded her arms, rattling her array of turquoise jewelry in the process. “What have you liked most in your curriculum so far?”

I thought for a second. “I like the Communications and PR classes, and I also like the Graphic Arts classes.”

“Well which do you like best right now?” She asked again.

I thought to myself “If I make a mistake and pick the wrong one I could regret it for the rest of my life.”  My face gave away that I was agonizing over the decision and Eloise tuned into my pain. She said, “Since you like Communications and Graphic Arts, why don’t you do both?”

“Wait…what? I don’t have to pick right now?”

“You can double major,” she said. “It will be extra work but you can do both until you are really ready to make a decision.”

This no-decision decision really paid off for me. I got to explore different talents at a time in my life when I could afford to do so, and learn what I liked and didn’t like about the work. In the end, my inner extrovert won the battle and I finished in the Communications major.  The Arts training helped me develop an eye for good design and teach me how to talk to professional artists in my marketing job today.

I want to thank Eloise for recognizing that I needed some time to decide, yet still help push me forward. Indecisiveness can also result in missed opportunities, and you should be fully aware that your “no-decision” is in fact a decision that will have consequences too. 

Have you ever made a “no-decision” to give your brain, and your heart, time to reveal what you really want?

Explore posts in the same categories: Communication, Motivation

2 Comments on “No decision IS a decision”

  1. Dawna Bate Says:

    When I was in high-school, the extent of my guidance counsellor advice was “Go into computer science. It’s an up and coming field [yes, I’m that old] and you’re good in math.” There was no exploring where my interests laid and what else I was good at. I often wonder how my life would have evolved if there had been more open discussion.

    “If I could do it all over again” is an easy phrase to throw around. But if it meant I had to give up what I have now – my husband, my daughter, my friends, my experiences – I would say “No thanks, I rather have them.”

    Yes, I have had time where I have decided to not decide because it wasn’t the right moment or I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. One thing I have learned about myself is that I need time to reflect before making those big decisions.

    Thanks for the reminder of that, David.

  2. Smart lady letting you decide to try both… sometimes, timing is everything and although a decision has been made, (i.e., to divorce), not hurtling forward too fast with that decision but waiting until the time is right is also important.

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