The Dilemma of “Keeping Doors Open”


I’ve always tried to cover all my bases and keep as many options as possible in almost everything I’ve done – most people probably do the same. But I’ve always wondered how important keeping all your options or “keeping doors open” really is and whether or not it’s almost counterproductive.

I recently read “Predictably Irrational – The hidden forces that shape our decisions”. I was highly intrigued by the part of the book that talks about our decision making process and why we usually keep as many doors open as possible – sometimes at a great expense. In today’s world, particularly in developed countries, it seems that opportunities (both small and big) knock on the door a lot. Therefore, new doors open a lot. But, by not shutting certain doors, we operate inefficiently and ineffectively (both personally and in business) because we’re never 100% focused and committed.

But why is it so hard to commit and appreciate the moment?
Why does it feel like there is something better out there?

On one hand, it’s the good old American dream–that “we can do anything and be anything we want to be” and therefore, always strive for something better. On the other hand, we simply have a hard time committing, are afraid of failing, and are constantly wondering whether we made the best choice. I’m convinced that we are better off taking a less favorable path, being 100% committed, than a favored path, being not fully committed and wondering what the other paths look like.

What can and should we do?

In my opinion, it’s simple: commit and focus on the current opportunity for a period of time, and don’t be afraid to lose, fail, and shut doors simply because options distract us from our main objective.


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  • steveheffernan

    Sounds like a good philosophy to me. Time to shut down some old websites. :)

  • Rhoman Goyenechea

    sven, you are big time. the part about “we simply have a hard time committing, are afraid of failing, and are constantly wondering whether we made the best choice.” is not only among adoptees’ i see. haha. keep up the great work.

  • John Bradley Jackson

    If you chase two rabbits you may end up with none. For many, there is great satisfaction in the chase.