How Do I Make Decisions When There Are So Many Choices?

How do you get anywhere or do anything when you’re overwhelmed with emotions, ideas, career options, thoughts and worries?

How do you choose when perfection is at stake?

How do you choose when you have to grieve over all of those lost opportunities?

How do you choose when every step your carbon footprint takes matters?

What can you do to manage the plethora of possibilities? How do you actually make a decision?

In another post, I describe multipotentiality. How you can find and create your career paths when you have multiple interests and abilities. How you can prove to yourself that you’re not an irresponsible unreliable flake.

What else? 13642-1

I wish I could say, just eat more chocolate.

Or spend a month on a tropical island.

Or read everything ever written by Ursula Le Guin.

But I’d be leading you astray.

Not that those things won’t help.

But, I have a suggestion that might be less appealing but more effective over time. I know this isn’t a new idea. But hear me out anyway.

Find and develop your intuition.  Tune into your inner wisdom. Practice learning the difference between how your cognitive mind works and how your intuition works. Build a meditation practice and use yoga or tai chi or walking in the forest to get your mental cacophony calm enough to hear your Essential Self or your Authenticity or your Wisdom or your Pips.

This isn’t easy. Maybe you just want to eat more chocolate. I won’t judge you if that’s what you choose. I mean I’ve found all sorts of reasons to avoid meditating regularly. I keep my Essential Self locked in the basement most days. But I promise, I’ll give it a shot if you will.


Where do we start? You’ve probably got the books on your shelf. You’ve just ignored them like I have. In case you need another book, try this one by Belleruth Naparstek. Or go to her website for a great selection of guided imagery CDs.

Then let me know how it goes.

And if you decide that instead, you want to eat chocolate on a tropical island while reading Ursula Le Guin, well, who am I to judge.


 To my blogEEs: I’m serious. I want to hear your thoughts about intuition, meditation and finding your Essential Self. So please share.

And thanks to Kathy for her comments that inspired this post.


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Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice based in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in international consulting with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. I’ve been a teacher and an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a frequent guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, Advanced Development Journal and online for psychotherapy dot net, Rebelle Society, Thrive, Introvert Dear, and Highly Sensitive Refuge. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, is a collection of case studies of gifted clients along with many strategies and resources for gifted adults and teens. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists is a collection of my most popular blog posts along with writing exercises for self-exploration and insight.

31 responses to “How Do I Make Decisions When There Are So Many Choices?”

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  1. If I’m So Smart, Why Can’t I Make A Decision? | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] find some ideas in this earlier post. The emphasis there is on developing and trusting your intuition. Writing dialogues with parts of […]

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  3. If I’m So Smart, Why Am I So Dumb? Part Two | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] You daydream a lot, can’t decide what color to paint your bedroom, and forget to tie your shoes. Gifted people make decisions […]

  4. singlemoeder Avatar

    I recognize the different options to ‘clear the mind’ but so hard to actually do that. I could go live near a forest and find so much calmness and happiness. Or near the ocean. Living in a big city with two young kids has other priorities. I am teaching my son (7) to do the intuition thing. He has such high standards and Perfectionism, Control rule his mind. Hope you have a parenting blog soon again.

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      Thank you for telling us about your son. There are some wonderful blogs about parenting gifted kids at A psychologist who writes about gifted children is at I hope that helps. Good to hear from you!

      1. singlemoeder Avatar

        Thank you. Over here homeschooling is not allowed. He is home now though for a while and I do teach him. It is so great. But he needs to be around other kids too I think. He will be an ‘inventor’ and he will use his magic pot to create a second Earth where there will be only people like us… he told me today.
        Being overwhelmed and so hungry for knowledge is quite something when you are so young. He needs to learn it’s ok.

        1. paulaprober Avatar

          Just so you know, the bloggers at the homeschoolers site don’t just talk about homeschooling. Many times they share about the challenges and joys of raising their complicated “overwhelmed and so hungry for knowledge” kids.

  5. singlemoeder Avatar

    I will try to teach my kids this and especially my oldest (7). He has set such high standards for himself that his mind is telling him what to do and his worries about anything are huge. Perfectionism, control. He needs to focus on intuition and of course more down time. Reading (comic) books helps but I am going to ‘visit’ nature as much as I can.

  6. amy Avatar

    have any of you heard of binaural beats? they have helped me incredibly. here is an example of one. you must use headphones.

    1. amy Avatar

      oops, here is the link:

      and google what binaural beats are for more info.

    2. paulaprober Avatar

      I haven’t heard of them. How have they helped you?

  7. Elise Avatar

    Meditation can look so different for those of us with rainforest minds, though! For some of us, meditation is ONLY yoga or tai chi. But some of use find that place of clarity and self elsewhere. Maybe on a run, maybe while journalling, maybe while painting, maybe while listening to others, maybe while sitting doing nothing more than letting a reality TV show wash over us. Can’t put us in a box! I mean, a tropical island sounds just fine to me (tonight, at least… as long as I can surf). But maybe tomorrow I’ll hit it that place of clarity during yoga 😀

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      I couldn’t agree more, Elise. No boxes!

  8. Z Avatar

    P.S I adore Ursula K Le Guin and have that very edition of ‘A Wizard of Earthsea’; my daughter has just begun reading it out loud. It’s so fantastic to see her wonderment at discovering the new world Le Guin created. I know many people dislike Tehanu and like to consider the Earthsea series a trilogy rather than a quartet (how could they?!) but personally, Tehanu is my favourite.

  9. Z Avatar

    Hello Paula,
    I think I spend my life drowning out unbearable physical symptoms as well as disturbing memories and thoughts, so I cannot let myself be ‘quiet’ enough to clearly hear my intuition. Except, for some time I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a ukulele to play here on my bed. Finally did it, and it is bringing me so much joy. I’ve played every day since I got it & enjoyed every moment. Being stuck in bed and unable to play music has been hurting me, but it took a long time for me to pay attention and do what needed to be done. I guess what I’m saying in my usual circuitous fashion is… even if a person can’t find the quiet just yet, messages might still be trying to come through. So glad I finally acted on mine!
    I think I heard on the Oprah show many years back ‘Pay attention to persistent messages’. I wrote it on a scrap of paper, and never forgot it.
    Thank you for another wonderful post, Paula. I’m still terrified of the idea of meditating, but at least the idea is bubbling away in my brain box for now.

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      It sounds like you heard your intuition anyway, Z. Maybe playing music is your meditation.

      1. Z Avatar

        Ah! I never thought of it that way. Perhaps it is, yes 🙂

  10. Kathy Avatar

    I just love how a conversation with you on your blog can inspire such great advice for decision making. Thank you for sharing.
    I wrote about how it affected my own decision since then this morning. What fun!

  11. Foraging for Answers: How to Decide With So Many Possibilities | Kathy Donchak

    […] recent conversation with Paula of the popular blog, Rainforest Mind, happened just as I had completed a few pages in my “capture” […]

  12. dmstauber Avatar

    Ursula LeGuin!!!!

    If I sit down at the computer and start a dialogue with any part of myself (Scared Me, Resistant Me, Worried Me) eventually the wise self that I call Awake Me shows up and tells me what I need to know. For some reason, this works best when I actually type or write the dialogue. The amazing thing is that she’s so wise! And she’s part of me! Who knew?

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      Yes, so wise. 🙂

  13. Stephanie Avatar

    The funny thing is I always have so many thoughts when I read your posts that I don’t have a clue where to start in a comment. So I don’t comment. But I hang on every word and I get really excited about new posts, and maybe someday I’ll be able to leave good comments and actually participate in the dialogue on here and out there in the world. Thanks for this blog.

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      Stephanie, that sounds like me. I’m not good at commenting on blogs either. No problem. But thanks for letting me know. It’s great to have you reading. And remember, comments don’t have to be perfect, or brilliant or….

  14. mphinton Avatar

    I heard a useful bit of advice a few years ago that I use regularly: when you have to make a decision, ask yourself, “is this right for me right now”: Your first response (yes or no) is usually the right one – everything that follows is you trying to talk yourself out of it. All of the “buts” and “what ifs” are leading you away from that gut response.

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      The last commenter also mentioned the “gut response.” Thanks for sharing.

  15. Re-Inventing Vintage Avatar
    Re-Inventing Vintage

    Of the many words you used to describe this inner guide, the on you left out, and the one I rely on is my ‘gut’. Sounds gross, I know, but for me (I’m not in my 40’s) I have learned (and am continuing to learn) to not only ‘feel my gut’ but to trust it, and start to listen to it. We have this as part of our makeup for good reason. In the very early days it probably used more simply (fight or flight?) as a means of actual survival, but as we have grown and advanced over time, we need our gut to guide is in less obvious situations. i.e. interactions with others, big decisions, raising kids, marriage, jobs, etc. I really appreciate your insight and willingness to share your expertise with us, freely. I’m still trying to wrap my head around being coined or grouped; you know, I have to be unique and different, an individual – oh wait, I’m a human being and other than technology, there’s probably not really all that much new under the sun 😉 Ok, I concede, I’m a Rainforest Mind 🙂

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      Ah yes. The gut! Of course. Thanks for adding this important piece. And I’m glad to have you join the tribe, in all of your wonderful uniqueness!

    2. Z Avatar

      I’ve taught my girl to use her ‘gut’. The word is used a lot around this house!

  16. Jade Rivera Avatar
    Jade Rivera

    I’ve been using a great meditation app called “Headspace”. The sessions are only about 10 minutes long, but I’ve had some nice results using it. Thanks!

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      Thanks for the suggestion, Jade.

  17. singlemoeder Avatar

    I am so incredibly happy i found you/your blog!
    You have the right words AND inspire, motivate and, very important, make me laugh in recognition. Thanks!

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