Maybe Makes You Crazy

This week has been a lesson in saying either YES or NO.

As the school year has started up, one thing after another has slipped onto my radar.  There are a lot of things I could do with my time right now. There are a lot of things I’d like to do right now. But there are always more interesting places to go and more interesting things to try than my capacity of time and attention could include.

Since I’m an INFP, I like keeping things open-ended. That’s what the “P” means: it stands for “perception.” According to Myers Briggs personality typing, your perception/judgment slot relates to whether you prefer things open-ended or set in stone.  Another way to think about P is “Possibilities”– a person who leans toward P instead of J is more excited about and attuned to the possibilities of life than the current realities.

So perceivers are plagued by maybes.  We tend to put off making a decision as long as possible.  That’s one of the obstacles to bringing our dreams and ideas into action and accomplishment.

Another problem with accumulating a lot of maybes is that it increases your stress.  Unmade decisions create “open loops” in your brain; all those maybes are like little airplanes of possibility circling the runway, waiting for permission to land. And who is the air traffic controller?  Your brain. If you get enough of those planes of possibility hovering around up there, it will make you sort of crazy.

I have no idea why we were going to Norway. None of us even like to ski.

You can’t relax. Your brain can’t shut off at night.  You start having bizarre dreams where you’re stuck at the Dallas Fort Worth airport with your husband and parents, waiting to go on a vacation to Norway together, but your flight keeps getting delayed and you keep having to carry all your bags to a different gate over and over again.

{But I digress.}

This week, I said NO (at least for now) to:

  • Taking on a yoga class, even though I really enjoyed the first one and want to support the teacher’s new school
  • Auditioning for my church music team, even though I love singing
  • Offering to build a website for a friend, even though I deeply admire their new endeavor
  • Pursuing an additional ministry service commitment, even though I believe I’ll be a part of their mission someday 

This week, I said YES to:

  • Registering to attend a two-day creative writing retreat
  • Walking regularly at the park with my husband, sister and brother in law
  • Continuing to work my way through The Artists Way
  • Continuing to serve by caring for the infants at church

It’s hard for me to say NO to things and people, but sometimes it’s just as hard to say YES, because that’s making a commitment. It’s moving something from the exceedingly enjoyable realm of possibility to the far scarier realm of intent.

What about you? Do you lean towards possibility or decision? If you prefer decision, what are some of the ways that can be troublesome? Do you sometimes act too quickly and regret it? What’s harder, saying no or yes?

And if anyone knows why my dream self was going to Norway, of all places, I’d appreciate some enlightenment.


  1. ·

    Deciding what to do and what not to do is called triage. It isn’t that you want or don’t want, can or can’t, have time or don’t have time; you just need to decide what’s the right thing to take on NOW and FOR YOU. You put your energy where you’ll be most effective and productive. Sounds like you’re good at it. I’m not surprised. You’re one of the most intelligent and talented people I know!

    And you dreamed about Norway because you’re thinking of buying a Fjord.


  2. Kat French

    Awwww… thanks for the compliment.

    “you dreamed about Norway because you’re thinking of buying a Fjord.”

    Nah. I’m a Chevy girl. *rimshot!*


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