Posted: July 13, 2020 in: Personal Empowerment, Pain-2-Power

Sometimes, You Just Have to Decide

Werner Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist and one of the principal pioneers of quantum mechanics—the field that focuses on the ways that subatomic particles (like electrons) move and interact.  His most famous work is called The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle which asserted that it is not possible to simultaneously measure the position and the velocity of  subatomic particles.  The particles are moving too fast and occupy too little space to nail down both where they are and how fast they are traveling at the same time.

Heisenberg used his extraordinary knowledge of the minute world of quantum mechanics to think about the whole of the world around us, too.  And he said something very insightful and important about how precise we can really be as we make decisions in life—choosing between one option and another.  Here is his insight:

In the practical decisions of life it will scarcely ever be possible to go through all the arguments in favor of or against one possible decision, and one will, therefore, always have to act on insufficient evidence . . . Even the most important decisions in life must always contain this inevitable element of irrationality.

This is advice for the ages.  All of us will encounter decisions (in at our jobs, in business, in marriage, as parents or in many other aspects of life) that could be looked at from different perspectives.  The choices at hand may have many, many factors that bear on them.  We may have valued advisors with important points to make.  Yet, in the end, a decision must be made, and it will always involve some amount of “gut feeling.”

Making no decision or delaying so long to make one that your options become very limited can’t be the answer.  That takes you out of the equation of your own existence.

It is also important to make sure your “gut feelings” aren’t driven by self-defeating patterns rooted in much earlier chapters of your life story.  If trusting others in your family of origin was perilous that doesn’t mean trusting a new partner in business or a new spouse would be equally perilous and ought to be avoided.  You gut feelings are driven by software that needs to be “clear,” as much as possible, of any errant lines of code from the past.

Yet, no matter what, there will come a point at which it is simply time to make a decision.  Then, I hope you will remember Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, relevant all the way from the world of subatomic particles to the world of our everyday lives.


Dr. Keith Ablow


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