Jeff Bezos freed me from jail in 10 seconds

Source: @JeffBezos/Instagram

Jeff Bezos freed me from jail in ten seconds.

I’ve never actually been incarcerated. Clean record. But for years, I let my neuroticism run rampant, until it locked me in a psychological jail.

I’m sure you know of analysis paralysis. It’s when you become so overwhelmed when trying to make a decision that you’re paralyzed.



Analysis paralysis was my jail, and my own brain was the warden. Pinning me down and unleashing a torrent of negative thoughts and “what-ifs” until all I could do was curl up into a ball and whimper.

And it wasn’t just the big decisions. Most decisions I struggled with were trivial. What to wear, or eat, or watch tonight. Life is full of tiny decisions, and I wrestled with every last one.

Enter Jeff Bezos.

Months ago, I came across a quote by him, in which he distinguishes between what he calls Type 1 and Type 2 decisions.

From his 2016 letter to shareholders [1]:

Some decisions are consequential and irreversible … one-way doors — and… must be made … slowly, with great deliberation… If you walk through and don’t like what you see on the other side, you can’t get back to where you were before. We can call these Type 1 decisions. But most decisions aren’t like that — they are changeable, reversible — they’re two-way doors. If you’ve made a suboptimal Type 2 decision, you don’t have to live with the consequences… You can reopen the door and go back through. Type 2 decisions can and should be made quickly.

“There [is] a tendency to use the… Type 1 decision-making process on most decisions, including many Type 2 decisions.

The good doctor Bezos had diagnosed my problem. I was agonizing over decisions as if they were all Type 1. But most are Type 2 — reversible and less consequential.

Didn’t like what I wore? Wrap your head around this — I could always get changed. Not thrilled with my choice of dish at a restaurant? Hardly life-or-death.

I fixed this with a tool you already have: a coin. Pick one with some heft, so it’s fun to flip (but any coin will do). Failing that, Google “flip a coin.”

Every time I made a decision, I acted like it was Type 2. I flipped a coin and bulldozed ahead. Sometimes I didn’t even wait for it to land; I realized what I truly wanted to do while it was in the air.

My speed of action improved 10x. My anxiety plummeted.

Maybe I overcorrected. Some decisions merit meditation. But I freed myself from my jail cell. I shot the warden. And I’m telling you this so we can stage a prison break.

Buy back your freedom forever for just $1.




Student @ UBC (Vancouver, BC).

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Anirudh Kannan

Anirudh Kannan

Student @ UBC (Vancouver, BC).

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