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Do you make noisy or quiet decisions? The difference could change your life

by Jennifer McShane
02nd Aug 2020

This pandemic has made everyone take a breather. We were forced to pause, to re-examine, to even look at the little things with fresh eyes. When we talk of a ‘new normal,’ it really means that anything pre-Covid no longer holds the same weight it once did – for most of us, anyhow. Moving forward, thinking about making big life decisions feels different. But how can we be truly sure, now, that we are making the right ones? Learning the difference between noisy and quiet decisions can help us get to the heart of what we really want

Life coach and speaker Mel Robbins, also the author of the bestselling book, The 5 Second Rule, has shared an Instagram video with tips on how to tune out the noise around us when it comes to making life choices.

Her book is all about how not to overthink the things you want to do in life – but instead, distract your brain by counting down from five backwards in your mind.

A similar principle applies to decision-making, as she explains. There are only two kinds of decisions that we make,” Robbins explains. “We make what I call a noisy decision or we make a quiet decision.

A noisy decision 

“A noisy decision is the type of decision that most of us make all the time. They are driven by the noise of what’s going on around us. Driven by the noise of fear. Driven by the noise of anxiety. Driven by the noise of pleasing other people,” she says.

“Because noisy decisions are driven by forces outside of your control, they always keep you feeling like you are out of control in your life. YOU want to break up, but the noise of their upset keeps you from doing it. You want to sign up for that class but the noise of your doubt makes you push it off. You want to quit your job but the noise of fear keeps you from doing it”.

The secret to taking control, Robbins says, is learning how to make quiet decisions.

A quiet decision


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A post shared by Mel Robbins (@melrobbins) on

“And then there’s the quiet decision. And the quiet decision is one where you take a deep breath and you tune out all the fear and all the s**t that everybody else is saying and you go in here [ inside yourself] and you ask yourself, ‘what do I want?’”

“If you get quiet for a second, and tune out that noise, you’ll be able to hear your own voice. It knows what to do”.

“A quiet decision is courageous, intentional and harder to make. It may disappoint someone else, it may force you to stand alone and take a risk but it also propels you forward toward the things you quietly envision for your life and your future”.

Your voice alone

During this pandemic, I have tuned out the other voices and made quiet decisions about where I want my life to go when this is all done. It pains me that I didn’t listen to my own voice, gut and intuition earlier, but I too, was stuck. The irony is that Covid-19 has now seen me feel freer than I have in a while. Because suddenly, all those other voices make no sense to me.

Tune in to that voice, Robbins insists, and your decision will become immediately clear.

“So, in any area in your life where you feel stuck, as soon as you feel the noise getting louder, pause for a second and dial the volume down. Tune into yourself and ask, “what do I want?” You see something larger for yourself. You see a different decision than the one that keeps you stuck. Then listen. Listen closely. You’ll hear yourself whisper the answer quietly back”.

Main photograph: Unsplash

Read more: ‘It was only in my thirties I started to compare myself to my friends in ways I hadn’t done before’

Read more: Opinion: ‘This pandemic has left an entire generation stuck in limbo’

Read more: 3 simple ways to mind your mental health during quarantine

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