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Would you like a cup of tea?

(Or coffee? Or beer? Or fries with that?)

… is a good test case for thinking about your personal decision making.

It has all the hallmarks of something you should be able to make a quick decision about:

  • It’s low stakes, with no effective long-term consequence whatever you decide;
  • It’s easily reversible (just follow the person asking down the hall and say “Actually, yes please.”)
  • Being asked is a routine occurrence for which it’s easy to have a default answer at whatever level of granularity works for you: always yes / yes before 4 p.m. / always ask for coffee and whisky / always offer to be the one who makes it.*
  • The consequences of indecision rapidly come to outweigh the benefits of what’s on offer. Taking a long time to answer the question is not worth your time, and it certainly isn’t worth the time of the person who’s offering. Anything longer than “Hmm, yes please” or “Hmm, no thanks,” – anything causes them to stand in that awkward position with their head through your doorway or to stop and listen for your answer before they’re out of earshot or worse, fail to catch your indistinct answer and have to come traipsing back to hear you mutter it again – is unacceptable.

Have the self respect to give a clear, prompt, yes or no. If you can’t, practice until you can. You’ll discover a source of joy that will spread to all areas of your life.

*If you’re having trouble deciding what yours should be, this post is for you.**
**And if still in doubt, the correct answer is “Yes please, whatever you’re having.” People like making things for other people and it’s good for us to give and receive favours.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...