[Advice] White Space

The person, or organization, pressuring you to make a decision right now, to hurry up, to do the quick and easy thing, are crowding your decisional white space.

This is a rhetorical and persuasive technique where all the methods of persuasion and influence from reciprocation to consensus, meet at the head of a pin.

They know that you know this. That’s why they’re crowding you.

And you know that something is happening to influence your decision making process— you feel the pressure and the stress emotionally and psychologically—but you’re not quite sure why or how.

The framing the person, or organization uses, is that the quick decision is benefiting you, but in reality your quick decision actually benefits them.

Make a quick decision and don’t think about the future, because maintaining the status quo is really what matters, and besides, who can know the future?

Hurry up to achieve harmony, or ensure stasis.

Make a quick decision for immediate gain—or at least, the perception of immediate gain—based on the appearance of an immediate need that needs to be filled.

Don’t slow down.

Don’t consider all of your options.

Even better, you have no options other than the ones that the organization—or the person—in charge gives to you.

Full pedal to the metal driving 105 miles per hour.


The singer Jewel turned down a $1-million-dollar recording contract when she was homeless, broken, sick, and needy.

Money is really no object.

Bob Dylan made albums when no one was listening.

Neither is safety, security, or the status quo. They are stories we tell ourselves, and let ourselves be told.

The future is unknowable, uncontrollable, and imprecise, yes, it always has been. But, today is the place where you have the most control over what you do.

Patience, slowing down, meditating, praying, contemplating, thinking deeply, disagreeing, exploring options, taking your time, being mindful of your surroundings and your inner life—these are not stories, frames or listicle based techniques or shortcuts.

They are skills, based in deeply held values, that resonate through your decisions.

These skills expand your decisional white space, and make it less likely that the person—or organization—pressuring you to make a decision across the table, will have any success at filling your white space.

And they will have even less success crowding the white space of your life.

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