What are you doing right now? Yes, right this very second? Got your answer? Okay, here’s what I think of your answer (no matter what it is): You might be wrong.
The choice(s) you’re making at this moment might be based on a mistake. How do I know? Because the process of making judgments of any kind is a fallible process. Your cognitive capacities are finite. Your understanding of logic is finite. Your knowledge of facts is finite. There’s always something you could be overlooking or underestimating.
Some people try to avoid this by not making any choices at all. But the decision to not make any choices is a decision that’s still subject to the same possibility of doing the wrong thing. Does that scare you? What do you do if any choice you make could turn out to be the wrong one? You simply do the best you can and leave it that.
Is it important to think things through? You bet. It’s more than important. It’s necessary.
Is it important to cross-check your opinions and decisions with contrasting points of view? Certainly.
Is it important to make sure you’re not avoiding the process of rigorously challenging yourself to think critically about everything you think and do? Absolutely.
But as a former philosophy professor of mine once said, “you’re never going to answer the final question.” At some point you have to get on with your life and make decisions. No matter what you do or where you go, there’s no possible way of taking a break from risks. Even if you could take a break from risks, you’d still be taking the risk of picking the wrong time to take a break.
If you’re living your life in fear of committing errors, here’s a bit of wisdom from C. Joybell C. that you may find useful:
“There’s that “margin of error” that you allow to exist in your mind, you want to give everything the benefit of the doubt, you want to look at another person and say “maybe we could be friends” and that’s all well at first, but then you have to reach that point in your life, wherein you don’t have time to live on the margins of error, and you have to say, “so what if there is a margin of error that exists? I don’t think that this person and I could walk down the same path together, because she’s like that, and I’m like this; I must relieve myself of fearing the error, the ‘what could have been’.” You know, sometimes we can be so afraid of the “what could have been” that we overlook the right here and now! And end up forsaking who we are and what makes us happy, and what we want and don’t want! There is an error that takes place; when living too much for the “what could have been.” There comes a time when you must give YOURSELF the benefit of the doubt! Know thyself. Color-in those margins of error with your favorite color; make them your own, make them work for you, let them be in your favor!”
Analyze your choices, but don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. Think critically, but don’t be paranoid about making mistakes. Examine your beliefs, but don’t forget to live the rest of your life in the process.
Although I agree with Socrates when he said “The unexamined life is not worth living,” I also think it’s important to remember that life must be examined along the way. Thinking is something you do *while* you live, not *before* you live.