Making decisions has for sure been less of a problem for humans beings in traditional socities and this is still so nowadays in the less modernized ones. The setup of traditional socities has things already decided to a very large extent. One is being married by parents and adopting their profession. What to believe, how to spend time amd how to behave are not subject to individual decisions, but almost completely governed by the collective and justified as God's will. And why would one question God's will? Only few individuals in traditional socities would escape these bondages and they are those we remember nowadays. They have been the pioneers of individualism.
The main characteristic of our modern society is that everyone is now supposed to be like these rare individuals. (Drawing on Hegel, this can actually be seen as the realization of the very idea of christianity: the infinite importance, the sacredness of each and every individual. Along with the rapid spread of modernization this idea is becoming reality all over the world. In its present capistalist stage it is still disguised as a superficial materialistic and hedonistic individualism, but the idea is obviously there.) Individualism has thus existed long since, even before christianity, but only now, only very recently has it become a mass movement. We are asked to decide just about everything, not much seems to be given anymore. While this carries some kind of freedom with it, it at the same time is a burden because we often simply do not know what to do, in everyday life as well as in the big picture. Having emptied out the heavens and gotten rid of most of generally accepted values we are having a very hard time commiting ourselves to anything that would take away this burden because we do not want to 'loose our freedom'.
This is a very unique problem. Not only are members of traditional socities largely free of it, animals, saints and God don't have it at all! Animals always know what to do because their instinct decides for them. They don't reason about what to do next or lament about being indecisive. God is so wise that it automatically does everything the right way. The same seems to be true for saints as it is commonly reported that their actions and words flow entirely naturally. If no action or word arises they are just silent and still til the next intuition takes place. No friction, no internal quarrel, just as beautiful as nature. ( If you don't believe in Gods and saints, take it as a metaphor.)
But what about us? For some reason we find ourselves neither traditional- nor animal- nor saint- or God-like enough. From our viewpoint even this beings seem to have kind of a choice, for they are not acting mechanical, but whatever then 'makes the decisions', we seem to lack it. So what to do? Let's think about situations where even we are free of the burden of deciding. It is actually in almost everything we do! We still can walk, talk, read and eat largely without decisions. Or do you have to decide how to move your eyes across this page and how to combine the letters to evoke meaning when you read this, decide how to put one leg in front of the other when you walk or how to arrange the movement of the jaws and tongue when you eat or talk? Of course you don't and if you would try so, you would most likely stumble, verschlucken and stottern. These things are so habitual, they have a natural flow, and although it seems we can 'interfere' if necessary, they generally don't depend on our decisions..
Moreover and more interesting there's situations where everything falls into place and flows naturally, where we literally feel as if we are not even doing it anymore: A very good conversation, good sex, creative acts of all kind. If there would be much of decision and reasoning, they would not work. If you ever wrote a poem, you know that you easily ruin it as soon you bring in much of thinking and decision about how to continue. Every artist knows this and everyone knows similar situations like these and how good they feel. We somehow miraculously know what to do next. What a burden being taken from us! (Drugs have a similar impact and that's why we like them so much. But drugs make us pay the price of awareness, and thus of freedom. We are not overcoming the human stage of decision, but falling back to an animal- or plant-like consciousness. That's cool, but not really a solution in the long run.)
So what distinguishes these situations from those where we are faced with the decision difficulty? It is the fact that in the latter we think we have to MAKE the decision. That makes it difficult. In a way, every second contains decisions, but they are made unconsciously or intuitively. We don't have to make them. Body and mind simply know what to by themselves. (From our viewpoint that appears like a miracle in itself, if we take a deeper look at it. How do they know if it is neither mechanical nor a conscious decision?.) But why do they sometimes know and sometimes not? What if they always knew and the only problem was our interference?
Did you ever experience that things take care of themselves after you stopped reasoning about them too much and just accepted that you don't know? Did you ever notice that if you want something very deeply, try very hard but cannot get it, as soons you stop wanting it so badly, it just comes to you? The partner you wanted so much, the good idea you were looking for in order to make a decision, the success in something. There is no rational explanation for these things, but they happen all the time.
Who holds on to it, looses it. Who lets go of it, wins - everything. (freely rephrasing Dao De Ching)
So how about decisons? Maybe we just have to drop the deepseated idea that we have to MAKE them, that we have to create something out of nowhere as this is what makes the difference to the experience of animals, saints and us when we are e.g. in the flow of creativity. Why MAKE a decisons if there seems to be no obvious reason or force pulling us to one side? If it would be obvious, we wouldn't be in trouble. So what about just accepting that right now there's no decision? How does it feel to be indecisive? How come the pressure is so strong to end this situation by just grabbing one side forcefully? Why not wait til the decision makes itself? Because we are addicts of security. If things don't go by themselves, we want to control them. We want everything figured out in advance, otherwise we feel exposed to uncontrollable forces. But wasn't it the clue of the above mentioned experiences that there's no conscious controlling, no reasoning, in forcing in it? So why force? Do security and control really make us feel better than going with the flow which in thus case just means to accept indecisiveness?
All we need is some patience and some faith in the fact that the right decision will come. And it always comes! Right at the time when despair was at it's peak and we wanted to give up - it came out of nowhere. (... von irgendwo ein Lichtlein her.) This is not like waiting to be saved from outside and giving up all responsibility. With this attitude we'd probably have to wait forever. We are not giving up ourselves, we are still involved. The decision might just suddenly come as a thought accompanied by a certain feeling. Suddenly we are convinced and we go for it without further questions. Our involvement consists in the alert and receptive openness to any kind of 'sign' that makes the difference, in being sensitive towards the situation.
If we are just dull and disinterested or negativily not believing in anything that could come to make the change, it will probably not come. So the difficult balance seems to be, not to force but also not to give up, both of which are ways of resisting the flow of life. Surrendering to the fact that there is only indecisiveness right now is not giving up, it is not nihilistic. It is also not idealistic, not putting force and will power onto anything. It is realistic, accepting what is without expecting any particular outcome and thus remaining open to any outcome. Idealism wants to take care of everything, nihilism doesn't care at all. We have to walk on the narrow path of caring just enough. This is a very subtle thing and can by no means be properly put into words. But with time we get the feeling.
So don't resist life by forcing or by giving up and life will be on your side. The the decisions will take care of themselves.
That is by no means an easy thing to do, because we are so very used to MAKING decisions, to force our will power upon the world in order to have things a we want them to be. But more often than not the world is just not in the mood to be in line with our preimposed ideas and forcing them against resistance simply doesn't feel good. What feels good instead is a flow of resonance between us and the world, when we do not ask for results, when we do not expect, when we just surrender to a certain force that softly carries us from here to there. We do not loose ourselves in the flow. We actually win ourselves, we see new possibilities, new aspects of ourselves that we haven't been aware of before. But learning something new is only possible, when our mind doesn't claim to already know everything and wants everything planned and decided in advance. In surrendering to this force we loose security, and sometimes to an extent that can be frightening and painful for a while. But at the same time we win - we win life.
(And by the way if nothing works and you really really have to MAKE a decision, just throw a coin. The coins knows much better than your rational mind! Sounds odd and even goofy, but I tried it on my journey when there was no natural flow and decisions had to be made. You will most likely not believe me, but the coin is always right! Sometimes I didn't believe the coin and went for the opposite. After some time, however, I saw clearly in every single case how right the coin was at that moment. It's tricky because - just like intuition - the coin gives no reason, whereas our mind is looking for nothing but a reason. Needing no reason, that is true faith. And the coin is always on your side. But how is that possible? Isn't that the must stupid and unjustified esoteric believe one could have? I wouldn't have believed that some years ago and now I still have a hard time explaining it. Putting it very simply, it's because the coin and you are not as separate as we use to think. The whole universe is instantly interconnected and everything always resembles, mirrors and influences everything else. Thus literally everything that happens has plentiful meaning, as meaning is nothing but relation to something else. The universe is a web of meaning and this offers guidance in every single second, we just refuse to see it as we follow our habit to draw only on our individual will and reason. So, as odd as it sounds, both cultivating intuition, as an alert and sensitive openness that does not force nor withdraw, and trusting the coin, connect us to the universe and the veil of ignorance is loosened that keeps us locked in ourselves and produces all the troubles we have with decision making. In truth we have never individually MADE any decision. It's always the interconnected universe acting through us. But no need to believe that, experience will reveal everything we need to know at the right time. This is just a hint and it's mere words. If someone points to the moon, don't waste your time staring at the finger!)