Embracing the Power of Decisions


Ellen Langer, a renowned psychologist and mindfulness expert, once said, “Don’t try to make the right decision, try to make the decision right.” This seemingly simple quote holds a profound lesson that can transform the way we approach decision-making in our lives. Langer’s words encourage us to shift our focus from the anxiety of making perfect choices to the proactive process of turning our decisions into successful outcomes.

Dr Ellen Langer, author of Mindfulness

The Essence of the Quote

At first glance, the quote might appear counterintuitive. After all, aren’t we supposed to carefully deliberate and analyze in order to arrive at the best choice? Langer’s wisdom lies in recognizing that life is inherently uncertain, and many variables beyond our control can influence the outcomes of our decisions. Instead of obsessing over making the “right” decision, she suggests that we channel our energy into making our chosen path the right one.

Embracing Flexibility

Langer’s quote is a call to embrace flexibility and adaptability in the face of uncertainty. Often, the quest for the perfect decision can lead to procrastination and indecision. We become paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake, overlooking the fact that even the most well-thought-out choices can lead to unexpected results. By committing to the decision we’ve made and focusing on making it work, we empower ourselves to navigate challenges and setbacks with resilience.

Turning Decisions into Opportunities

When we approach decision-making with the intention of making it right, we position ourselves to transform any outcome into an opportunity for growth. This mindset encourages us to take ownership of our choices and responsibility for the consequences. Rather than playing the blame game if things don’t go as planned, we channel our efforts into finding creative solutions, learning from our experiences, and improving our future decisions.

Mindfulness and Present-Centeredness

Central to Langer’s teachings is the practice of mindfulness – being fully present in the current moment without judgment. This practice is intertwined with her quote, as it prompts us to focus on the journey of our decision rather than fixating solely on the destination. When we apply mindfulness to our decision-making process, we become attuned to our intuition, values, and immediate circumstances, enabling us to make decisions that align with our authentic selves.

Applying the Quote in Daily Life

  • Overcoming Analysis Paralysis: Instead of overthinking every possible outcome, make a decision based on the information available. Once you’ve made your choice, commit to it and start taking action.
  • Embracing Trial and Error: Understand that not every decision will lead to success, and that’s okay. Treat failures as valuable learning experiences that can inform and improve your future choices.
  • Cultivating Resilience: When faced with challenges or unexpected outcomes, don’t shy away. Embrace the situation, explore alternatives, and adjust your approach as needed.
  • Focusing on Growth: Shift your mindset from a fixed view of success to one that values personal growth and development. View each decision as an opportunity to learn and evolve.


Ellen Langer’s quote, “Don’t try to make the right decision, try to make the decision right,” challenges us to reframe our approach to decision-making. By adopting a proactive and mindful attitude, we can navigate the complexities of life with greater ease. Rather than being bound by the quest for perfection, we empower ourselves to turn our decisions into meaningful, transformative experiences. In a world full of uncertainties, Langer’s insight encourages us to embrace the journey of our decisions and find purpose in the process.

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