Character

Stop trying to make “perfect decisions.”

This is the first thing I ever tweeted.

First tweet

If you’re thinking, “Wow, that’s profound,” you’re right. I am deep.

The day after I tweeted that I also started my blog Stuff Christians Like.

At the time, I had no idea how life changing both of those decisions would be. I didn’t understand Twitter and just wrote a single verb about what I was doing. Stuff Christians Like was a silly site that I thought I would write about for a week and then quit. (I had a track record of doing that for years.)

Instead, Twitter became my biggest platform for sharing ideas with the world and Stuff Christians Like turned into a doorway to get a book deal, build two kindergartens in Vietnam and work for Dave Ramsey in Nashville.

On March 20, 2008 I couldn’t have possibly predicted that. I didn’t feel like I was making a perfect decision. I was just making the next decision. So then why, right now, do I worry about every decision I am facing in life?

Why do I get paralyzed in fear wondering what the ten-year outcome of the next decision will be? Why do I get stuck trying to make the best move? Why do I freeze up when options are presented to me? Why do I have such a dreadful fear of missing out?

Have you ever felt that way? It feels like you’ve hit a ceiling. You don’t know where to turn next. You’re in a corner and either can’t see a path out or can see too many paths and don’t know which one to pick.

I wrote my new book Do Over for moments like that, in our careers, in our relationships and our day-to-day lives. (You can pre-order it right here and get a copy emailed to you this week.)

Stuck dreams are the worst kind of dreams because they give you the illusion of progress. Wrestling with the decision gives you the false sense of forward motion even when all you’re doing is walking around in circles.

What I’ve learned over the years is that you never know the true impact of a decision until after you’ve made it. There’s no such thing as a perfect decision. And when fear tries to tell you there is, it’s real goal is to cripple you with indecision.

Don’t get stuck. Get brave. Be brave enough to admit you don’t know exactly where each decision will lead. Be brave enough to make a good decision today so you can learn from it and make a great decision tomorrow. Be brave enough to make a wrong decision. Be brave enough to apologize when you do.

And remember, bravery is a choice not a feeling.

You can’t wait until you feel brave enough to make a decision. You can’t wait until you have a perfect plan to make a decision.

You just have to make one, even if all you know how to do next is tweet the word “writing.”

About Author

Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff

29 Comments

  1. Ken

    If we waited for the perfect plan, if we waited to see exactly how everything would work out first, we’d never get to our destination because we’d never start. It’s like trying to drive home at night… you can only see a couple hundred feet in front of you at any given time – but that’s all we need to see. If we just start in faith and keep going, we’ll make it home.

  2. I tell myself and my coaching clients to, “Just take the next right step” often. It doesn’t matter if it’s the perfect step, but the next right one is fine. We can always change course later. Excited for your new book, congrats!

  3. Jon I am continually fired up by your words. Thank you for punching my fears in the face, and encouraging me to keep hitting them. Sir, you are awesome I for that you have my deep appreciation!

  4. Jon, thanks for the great advice. I know I can get bogged down in trying to make the “not-wrong” decision and then actually just do nothing. It is awesome to see your story and how God is using you to impact the world.

    I am reading Jeff Goins, The Art of Work right now. One of the things he says is to look at major events in your life and write them down. “You will begin to see a theme, a surprisingly obvious thread that ties it all together.”

    I know this is hindsight, similar to your example above, but it is still very encouraging to look back and see what got you here. It helps to make the road going forward a little less intimidating.

    Thanks for all you do.
    Jesse

  5. For years I’ve been wanting to go into ministry, but I’m in software development. How could I do this? God had given me a passion and skill for something I thought was completely unrelated to serving Him, but then last year I found out about Wycliffe Bible Translators and their need for computer programmers (and teachers, and translators, and pilots, and mechanics and and and . . . ) after a lot of research and a lot of prayers, I applied and was accepted at Wycliffe. I’m currently in the partnership development stage, where I have to get a group of financial and prayer partners to support my work in Bible translation. I’m taking a significant pay cut and moving away from all of my friends and family. In a lot of ways this decision makes no sense, and every day I struggle with “am I doing the right thing?” I’m asking God to work on my heart to give me peace but also guide me in my decision making.
    What has He given me so far? Last night, in Star Trek: Generations I learned from two great captains that it can’t be about the promotions, it has to be about making a difference, even when the situation is grim, and this morning He gave me your blog post. Every day you inspire me, Jon.

  6. It’s a good topic because we all fumble around with decisions and beat around the bush sometimes.

    A decision is made in a split second, it’s all the voices in our heads that get in the way. I get the fact that we have to sometimes contemplate on specific situations before a decision is made, but most of what we are “deciding” on daily can be done at a moments notice.

    This is synonymous to the “I’m not ready” excuse. Strangely enough my next blog post is on this very topic.

    Just make the decision and do it!

  7. Cherilyn

    Be Brave. That’s going to be my new motto for now. When my husband called and said he had been asked to move our family to Kuwait for 2 years I was blindsided because this had never been on our radar. But with a quick prayer because the decision had to be made quickly I knew it was the right thing for my family. Fear reared it’s ugly face after the commitment was made but we’ve pushed it aside and are looking forward to a new adventure!

  8. Truth. “Don’t get stuck. Get brave.” New motto.

  9. I don’t even know how to classify this blog in my life.. it was a pleasant accident and now I get to enjoy all these posts.

    Today’s nugget for me: Don’t get stuck. Get brave.

    You are literally lighting a fire under me (not an actual fire LOL)

    thanks Jon!

  10. “There’s no such thing as a perfect decision. And when fear tries to tell you there is, it’s real goal is to cripple you with indecision.”
    wow. Now that really IS profound!
    Thank you so much!
    deborah flowers

  11. “Why do I get paralyzed in fear wondering what the ten-year outcome of the next decision will be?”

    I don’t know, why? I’d love to hear the answer, but more important, I suppose, is that YOU know the answer. Everyone should really know their answer to that question.

  12. Jonathan

    Thanks for sharing Jon! Good Stuff!

  13. I think the part that makes it harder when you’re doing it than when you’re first starting out is that there’s more riding on each decision. Family, jobs, benefits, etc. When you’re starting out, the sky’s the limit. It’s definitely harder to be brave once you’re moving.

  14. This was incredibly timely for me. Due to lack of a perfect plan, I’ve barely blogged over the past two years, even though that’s something that I’ve really wanted to do. Just a few days ago, a friend decided he was going to hold me accountable to posting today, no matter what happened. I decided I was going to blog about fear – fear of failing and fear of not being perfect. Read your post this morning before putting the final touches on the post I was working on couldn’t have been more perfect. So, Jon, thanks for the encouragement and your help on my newest blog post. 🙂 http://taryndimartile.com/2015/02/10/why-im-not-going-to-care-about-my-perfect-plans-anymore/

  15. Oh my – I am at that point in my life when about a gazillion different things interest me in writing. I want to try freelance writing, travel writing, work for clients, start my own website…read more

    My dreams ARE stuck right now – I need to nudge some of those boulders to make some space! LOL

    Thanks, as ever, for being so wonderfully inspirational

    Kitto

  16. I can’t decide whether to comment on this or not. Oh, wait…

  17. May Bohon

    Facing crippling indecision as I type. Thanks for this, Jon!

  18. Thanks for this post, Jon, I needed it. It reminded me of the most important sermon I’ve heard on making important decisions, and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s called “your plans, God’s plans” by Dr. Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. It’s free and worth the listen, just Google it – it emphasizes how the Lord is out to make us like himself in our circumstances as we pursue him and his wisdom. Another of Keller’s sermons focuses more on the paradoxical question of our free will and God’s complete sovereignty. That one’s called “does God control everything?”. Anyway, thanks again for your encouragements.

  19. I quit my job to chase my dream when my wife was 3.5 months pregnant with our first kid (aka six weeks ago). I knew for us to live the life we wanted, we couldn’t do it with me working my old job. So we sucked it up and took a chance. Things aren’t “there” yet, but they’re trending towards “there.”

  20. Wow. I cannot even begin to tell you how perfect the timing of this is…. Thank you.

  21. Steven

    “Why do I get paralyzed in fear wondering what the ten-year outcome of the next decision will be? Why do I get stuck trying to make the best move? Why do I freeze up when options are presented to me? Why do I have such a dreadful fear of missing out?

    Have you ever felt that way? It feels like you’ve hit a ceiling. You don’t know where to turn next. You’re in a corner and either can’t see a path out or can see too many paths and don’t know which one to pick.”
    That has been me for way to long.

    Thank you

  22. I remember now,
    “stuff Christians like”
    like wow, I remember visiting your website like everyday…

  23. Man this is so true and one of the hardest thing for most people to conquer (myself included). Thanks you for this inspiration!

  24. Jon,

    What a great and timely post. I’ve read you for a while and really appreciate your passion and insights. I finally launched my own blog this week after a year of researching, planning, tweaking, and many “almost launches”. I often get caught in the lie that I need to have learned everything about everything first or that some other stars need to align. And all that time, it just sits there, waiting for me to just be brave and go for it.

    I think there are times when we DO need to wait a little longer to do the extra research, the extra work behind the scenes to be able to put out a quality product. But I also think we can confuse many of the other “be brave and go for it” times with those other times and just lie to ourselves as well.

    Thanks for being brave and going for it back in March 2008 so that we’ve all been able to benefit from the fruit of that decision.

  25. So good sir. Look at where you are now!

    I keep stumbling forward towards the goals in my life. Bruised knees but the journey is fun.

    You do a great job encouraging so many people.

  26. Tricia

    Jon, thank you. I needed to read that today. I’m sending out queries and needed to hear that. Sometimes finding an agent is very, very, disheartening and hard, and you second guess yourself. Thanks for the wisdom and the reminder that you just gotta find courage and go for it.

  27. Indecision is a decision, thank you for bringing out that we no longer have to be paralyzed to make a choice, i love that bravery is a choice…

  28. Heather

    Browsing through your blog posts because I’ve not had time to read many of them. This one… hit me between the eyes and I needed it today SO MUCH! Thank you!