Is it ON or OFF?

"Sometimes the OFF part is not the decision itself but the anxiety and the doubt produced as a result."

ON or OFF. Which one is it?

We’re constantly making decisions in our lives. Some of these decisions are ON target and we know it. By ON I mean… a decisions as right and true as you are capable of making. Aligned, in integrity, we feel good about it. We each have unique ways of languaging what it feels like when a decision or experience is ON—and we know it’s ON.

Sometimes our choices are OFF—and oh baby, we also know that. We blew it, epic fail. We cheated or lied. We didn’t do our best. We were out of integrity and didn’t show up. We know how it feels when a decision is OFF—and we know it’s OFF.

To be so certain is a actually a tremendous gift, be it certain of being a momentarily fabulous champion of humanity or certain of being a temporarily nefarious fuck up. I personally welcome open nefariousness. I can be a real a asshole—and I try to be as upfront about it as possible. A certain asshole is actually a trustworthy person to be around, because they know where they stand and how they are behaving. Tell me any day that you’re out to get me and I’ll just give you a big ol’ hug. But pretend you’ve got the purest of intentions yet beneath the surface plot your self-serving schemes… oh, that gets under my skin.

Because sometimes we all have evil intent. We all do things that are OFF the mark—and when we know we’re off, we’re actually quite safe, enjoyable people to be around. Failure is a necessary and glorious part of any evolution. When we pretend the shit pile is lily white, however… that’s when evolution becomes a cheap parade.

OK—my rant about accuracy of intent aside, what’s true is it’s the gray areas of uncertainty that trouble us the most in our decision making.

How often have you found yourself in a situation where you’ve made a decision or had an experience—and afterwards felt guilty or anxious about it?

When this happens, we often assume that the decision or experience itself was OFF must have been flawed from the onset. But that’s not necessarily so. Sometimes, the only thing that’s OFF is our guilt and questioning itself.

Case in point: I made a decision at work that was deeply unpopular but necessary for my business a few months ago. It garnered some public outcry, even. But the decision, I knew, was sound and in alignment—it was ON. Days after making it, however, I was stewing in self-doubt and fear. I was certain everyone now hated me. I became self critical and started questioning my motives around every aspect of my life.

Yet the decisions itself, like I knew, was ON. So what happened?

In such situations, the OFF part is not the decision itself but the anxiety and the doubt produced as a result. In my case, that was actually the only part that was OFF. My decision making wasn’t at issue—but instead my relentless questioning of myself.

ON or OFF. Which one is it?

This happens more than we realize. Often we are accurate in our original choice. We usually know the right thing to do. I believe strongly that we actually do. The layers we slather on top of our accurate perceptions, however—the anxiety, guilt, fear of other people’s opinions, self-doubt, and criticism—are often the more inaccurate parts of our decision making.

Next time you find yourself in a situation where you’re questioning if something you did was wrong, check out which part was OFF. Was it the decision itself that was inaccurate? Or was it your judgments afterwards that need to be reworked?

If it’s your judgements that are off, stand by yourself. Defend your knowing. Guilt will wrack and self-doubt will nibble at the edges of our certainty. But you actually do know. You can trust yourself.
ON or OFF. Which one is it?

Bez Maxwell

Bez Maxwell

I help people have better sex and get in touch with what they want.

Learn more about Bez