The Art of Decision Making

I had a decision to make recently. It wasn’t life or death or anything nearly as serious, but the consequences could have been pretty impactful. I had been agonizing for weeks trying to figure out what I should do (there’s that word again). I talked to several friends about it and they all gave me their input. I was no closer to making my decision though. I tried asking myself what would really make me happy. I asked myself which would I regret most, but even those didn’t work. I was still torn and had no clear answer.

It wasn’t until last night that I was stopped dead in my tracks and realized what I was doing. I wasn’t looking for an answer, I was looking for the answer. I was trying to force myself to make the “perfect” decision. I didn’t want to make the decision that was best for me, I wanted to make the one that would end up with me walking away unhurt and unscathed…having no regrets. But that’s not how decision making can work. It’s not how it should work. I can’t know what’s going to happen, whichever route I choose. As nice as it might be to have a glass ball that would tell me the future, that’s just not reality. What I can do is follow my gut and make the decision I want to make. No matter what my friends or others might say about it, I have to make the decision I feel the best about. Not because I think it will be the easiest or even the “right” one, but because it’s what I really felt, deep-down, that I wanted to do.

I may end up getting hurt. The decision I make may end up being a huge mistake. But isn’t that a risk we all take whenever we make a decision in life? Whether it be moving to a new city, taking a new job, starting our own business, or choosing a college. We’ll never know if making any of those decisions is the “right” one that ends up with a perfect, happy ending. New cities don’t work out, new jobs and new businesses fail. But you’ll never know the outcome unless you try. And if, in the end, the decision you made ends up in a not so ideal way, you can take that experience, learn from it and use it as an aid in your future decision making.

I can definitely say that once I realized that, it took immense pressure off of me. I was no longer stressing over making the perfect decision. I know now, whatever I choose to do, it may work out great or it may fail miserably. But either way, I know I’m going to come out of it stronger and having learned a lot more and that’s really what decision making should be all about.

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