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What Choosing Gelato Taught Me About Indecision

Updated: Jan 11

During my recent summer vacation, I found myself standing in front of an array of delicious, creamy and mouthwatering gelato. Decisions, decisions! With the line of hungry gelato-seekers increasing behind me I felt the crippling pressure of making just the right 'gelato decision'. Maybe you've experienced this yourself? You enter a gelateria with hopes of finding the perfect flavour to satisfy your cravings and then, when it's your turn, you become a quivering mound of indecision.

A delicious selection of gelato
Choosing Gelato

There I was, ohhhing and ahhhing over the multitude of tasty treats. There were heaping mounds of delicious, creamy gelato gorgeously decorated in shiny metals trays stacked neatly in the polished glass vitrine. Which one should I choose? Should I go for the tried-and-true taste of chocolate and hazelnut, the tangy sweet flavour of lemon lime or be adventurous and dip into a cup of the green tea with honey?

Choosing gelato is much like making a choice in life: you base your decision on what you think you want but sometimes you're surprised by what you actually get.

My favourite flavour happens to be licorice. I know it's not a popular choice for many people, so I was thrilled when I suddenly noticed some tucked into the far left corner of the display case. The server looked at me with serious expectation and an anxious sideways glance towards the lineup of people waiting behind me.

Rather than holding them up any longer, I quickly pointed to that dark-coloured gelato and asked for two scoops in a cup. Pleased I'd made the right decision and anticipating the sweet, spicy flavour of dark licorice melting on my tongue, I stepped away and tasted my first spoonful.

That's when it dawned on me.

Choosing gelato is much like making a choice in life: you base your decision on what you think you want but sometimes you're surprised by what you actually get.

What I actually got was not licorice at all but something completely different. I quickly turned around and that's when I saw the little plastic sign sticking out of the mound of dark-coloured gelato that read: Bittersweet Triple Dark Chocolate. My mind began to spill over with questions:

  1. How could I make a mistake like that?

  2. Why didn't I simply read the sign?

  3. Did I let the ever-growing line of people behind me force me into a hasty decision?

  4. How about that look from the server? Were they annoyed that I was taking so long to choose?

  5. How could I mistake chocolate for licorice - they don't look the same!

  6. Am I going to be able to enjoy this gelato or will my mistake make it less palatable?

  7. Should I just get back in line and order something else?

and so on and so on....

Yes, I admit that my unwelcome, and very vocal self-critic had immediately arrived on the scene to once again attempt to spoil life's adventures by sprinkling her seeds of doubt on top of my now melting gelato.

And then, before I allowed another one of her self-doubt sprinkles to land, something really wonderful happened: I took a deep breath, centered myself, took a second bite and really savoured it. This is when I realized that I actually loved the flavour of Bittersweet Triple Dark Chocolate. Wonder of wonders!

Settling myself on a nearby bench I proceeded to slowly enjoy each delicious mouthful of my gelato until the paper cup was empty. The lineup of people waiting to get their share from the gelateria had now begun to wind out the door and down the street. I wondered how many of them would be faced with the same dilemma of 'gelato-indecision', like me?

In the throes of indecision, we may end up walking away from life's gelato shop empty-handed.

This got me thinking about how we can sometimes be overwhelmed with life decisions (much like gelato decisions). Do we make choices based on old habits? Do we feel pressured by others to make hasty decisions we may later regret? What about reading the signs? Do we take the time to fully understand what we're getting into? we simply take a leap of faith and make a choice, allowing ourselves to be surprised by what that choice may bring? Are we mindful enough to even notice this mental play?

And yet, sometimes the choices in life are so bounteous and overwhelming that we don't make a choice at all. In the throes of indecision, we may end up walking away from life's gelato shop empty-handed.

I'm glad that I didn't walk away empty-handed. I'm glad that I inadvertently made 'the wrong choice'. In making the wrong choice I was mindful enough to be aware of why I made the choice in the first place: I was playing it safe. I was choosing what I thought was the right choice. I was choosing quickly because I didn't want to hold up the line. I was choosing not to take my time, to read the sign, to forgo the pressures I felt (real or unreal) and in the end I got what I asked for. And what I asked turned out to be just fine indeed!

The important thing is that I made a choice and then chose to open up to the possibilities that that choice offered me. I was aware, as I sat on that sunny bench, watching the throngs of patrons leave the gelateria with their treats in hand, that sometimes it's o.k. to play it safe. It's o.k. to miss all the signs and feel like you've made a hasty decision. Because sometimes it takes two scoops of Bittersweet Triple Dark Chocolate gelato with a side of mindfulness to open your eyes to your habitual reactions and the delicious possibilities that life, and gelato, have to offer.

Besides, you can always choose another flavour next time!

Are you looking to be more mindful in your choices? Are you overwhelmed by your indecisiveness and feeling stuck? Are you wanting to be more aware of the self-critic but not deterred by its suggestions of self-doubt? I offer both mindfulness courses and life coaching sessions that can help with all of this. You will obtain the tools you need to help you make better choices and to realize how indecisiveness may be holding you back from living your best life.

Let's have a chat about the wonderful possibilities that this may open up for you in your life: free consultations sessions available!

And, of course, we can also chat about your favourite flavour of gelato.


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