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Sit on the Fence

To sit on the fence means to have a difficult time making a decision. Fear of making the wrong decision can be punishing. Failure to make the correct decision may be due to poor decision-making methodology. A gut instinct can only take you so far in life.

In order to learn how to make a correct decision, one needs to learn how to synthesize an overwhelming amount of incoming information and to make the best decision in a timely fashion. In order to learn to take a volume of information, synthesize it and make a decision one needs to learn how to deal with the hierarchy of knowledge.

Hierarchy of knowledge:

  • Gut instincts
  • Data
  • Information
  • Knowledge

In processing different levels of reliable data determining whether that data is credible or biased is an important facet. For someone needing to make a big life decision, such as having surgery, one could consider the following seven steps of making a decision without regret:

  • Have a life vision
  • Evaluate the pros and cons
  • Discuss with a friend
  • Invoke a higher power
  • Plan to flip a coin and decide what you would choose before the flip
  • Ask questions
  • Don’t regret

Most people do not want to have surgery, let alone spine surgery. It’s natural for people to wish and hope that their condition is self-limiting and will resolve relatively quickly. There are occasions when procrastination can result in a worsening of one’s condition and make correction more difficult. If someone finds themselves in the situation, it’s important to be educated about the problem, find a physician you feel comfortable with and consider a second opinion. Prompt decisions can sometimes prevent irreversible damage which cannot be salvaged.

To learn more about Dr. Cotler or to schedule an appointment, please call us on (713) 523-8884 or visit

Howard B. Cotler, MD, FACS, FAAOS is board certified and recertified in Orthopedic Surgery. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery and the American College of Surgeons.

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