Decisions decisions! Our lives are full of them. From the little and inconsequential ones such as what toothpaste to buy at the supermarket to the big and life-impacting ones like who to marry or what career to choose. We make decisions every single day of our lives. Some are so easy that we’re not conscious that we’re making them while others are so hard that they take us many a sleepless night to make.
Lately, I’ve been in the unenviable position of having to make some tough decisions. I say tough because they involved choices between seemingly good things. It’s easy choosing between one thing you feel to be good for you and another thing that’s bad for you. Or choosing between something you really want and something you just don’t want. But choosing between two or more things you want or things that all look good to you can be hard.
A few years ago, I had a decision to make between living in Tobago and living in Trinidad ( the two islands in my county). Tobago is where I was born and bred, where most of my family is and it is a very beautiful and scenic island. Trinidad on the other hand is faster and bigger with more opportunities for entertainment, networking, and career advancement. Both have their unique benefits and drawbacks. So choosing one meant giving up the other – after all, we can’t both have our cake and eat it too.
And the same thing could be applied to any major decision – getting married, buying a house, choosing a job or career, etc. I call this the opportunity cost of making decisions. And for me, it’s precisely this “opportunity cost” that makes some decisions hard. Would I regret the decision I made? Would I miss the thing that I gave up? Thankfully, over time I’ve learned five things that give me comfort and confidence in making a decision. And whatever stage you may be at in your life, whatever decisions you may be facing these five things might be of help to you as well in guiding you through the decision-making process:
1. Seek Guidance
The fact that this decision is hard for you might suggest that you need some outside help. There may be persons close to you who also faced a similar decision in the past and whose experience you can benefit from. Good counsel is always helpful. Just be aware that every person is different and what may have worked for them may not necessarily work for you.
As we are talking about guidance for making difficult decisions, my first go-to is usually prayer. Prayer takes away some of the worry. It gives me peace that everything will work out well and therefore the confidence to go ahead and make a decision.
2. Gather Information
Not an impulsive decision but an informed one! Information is key in decision making. Spend time gaining knowledge about what/who the options are. Know what they offer you and what they demand of you. In a nutshell, know as much as you can about what you might be getting into before you get into it.
Information can be overwhelming at times but getting the right information most relevant to your decision can be beneficial to you.
3. Consult Your Gut
Yes, you read right lol. So far you’ve consulted outside sources, but how do you feel about it? What does your mind and intuition tell you? Most likely you would be a little bit more inclined to one choice than the other. Which choice do you favor and why? Now is the time to do some introspection and self-interrogation.
Given the advice you received and the knowledge that you gained (1 and 2), consider what you want and why you want it.
4. Think Long-Term
Wait! Before you finally decide, think about the kind of person you’d want to be 10 years down the road and whether this decision is aligned with that. Does the thing you want serve you in the long-term? If yes, then go for it.
Remember that big decisions are not so much for you now as they are for your future. So think a little about your future.
5. Indecision Is Also A Decision
Make a decision! Know that not making a decision is also a decision and one of the worst to make. It’s choosing nothing rather than something, so choose something.
Fear of making the wrong decision can be paralyzing but take comfort and confidence in the fact that your decision wasn’t random or impulsive. You invested time and careful thought into your choice. Plus this decision is between things that looked good to you in the first place, so chances are even if you didn’t end up choosing best you still chose good. So forward ever, backward never!
“Sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you make the decision right.” - Phil McGraw
It would be so much easier if we could delegate all our major decisions or if we somehow knew how they would turn out. But life isn’t like that and if we want to live a life that matters, we will face tough decisions at times. Hopefully, with what I’ve shared here, you are in a better position to face these decisions head-on. Happy decision making!
I wish you every success in life and in the pursuit of your passions and purpose.
A fellow traveler on the road toward financial freedom and a more meaningful life. More About Me and My Blog.