More Information, Better Decisions?

Years ago I took a job in a large radio market, as the Program Director of the most successful radio station in the city. In less than three weeks, I knew the job was a mistake.

Man looks up contemplating

The business was dysfunctional, because the person who hired me was mentally ill. He was a psychological maelstrom, and inexorably pulled everyone and everything around him into the battles that raged inside his own besieged mind. He was both hated and feared by his staff.

Even though I knew I should not have taken the job, and that I needed to find a new one as fast as possible, I convinced myself to wait. I had already invested a lot of money, time, and energy into moving my family to this new city. I told myself we would make it work.

As the months rolled by, I became more and more miserable, and so did my family. I became physically ill as a result of all the stress. But I kept waiting to make the tough decision.

I talked to friends at other stations, I sought advice from my mentors, I learned all I could about the structure of our company, and even read books on how to work for difficult people. I kept gathering more and more information, convinced that somehow if I simply knew more, my situation would change.

After nine months, I decided to get a new job. It happened very rapidly, and a few weeks later we moved 1,800 miles across country to the place that would become my home.

Now, why did I tell you this story? Simple…

I knew what the right decision was less than 21 days after arriving at that miserable job. But it took me nine months to finally get the guts to follow through on that decision. The more information I gathered, the more I waited, the harder it was to decide.

In the end, more information does not usually lead to better decisions. But it can delay the making of hard decisions. And the cost of that delay is something that is difficult, if not impossible, to calculate.

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

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  • Dan Tredo

    I can so relate to your revelation about more information. It took me 15 years to gather up the guts to quit a company I worked for in LA when I knew it was wrong in the first year! Talk about being a chicken scared of losing my paycheck and going into the unknown. I was so miserable there were days I cried driving into work (no kidding). But I’ve learned to look back with reverence (no regrets), revel in today, and remain optimistic about tomorrow. Life leaves scares but Christ heals all.

  • Powerful wisdom here! I know that scenario all too well. Why do you believe it’s so difficult to make that decision in the moment? Does it get easier to recognize if you’ve been through it before?

    • It gets easier, but this is an easy trap to fall back into. “Getting more information” FEELS like you’re DOING something.

  • Vicente Cotto

    Wow! Thank you Ray. I’ve been there and done that. Not a good feeling, not a good place to be. Thank you for putting words to these feelings. I know I’ve grown when I recognize it while in the midst of the situation. Hope springs forth! Thank you Justin and Dan for sharing. Good stuff.