The art of making important decisions
Updated: Aug 13, 2018
I find the complexity of choices we often face in life mind boggling. And no, not in a “complex physics equation” type of way but in an ambiguity and uncertainty of the consequences of everything that’s in front of us. The job pays well, is very convenient but I get no sense of purpose from it.. I really like this guy and I have the most amazing conversations with him but really I want more and don’t want to settle.. I love the buzz of this city but my soul is slowly dying among the business of it all… To stay or to go? And what’s really tough is that whatever we choose in the end means sacrificing something big and enjoyable as a trade-off – whether we choose to stay or go. This really got me thinking - if we end up losing something whatever decision we make at the crossroads – what is it that can help choose what we really want deep down and not the opposite? Because, in experience, it seems that when faced with the choice of staying or walking away from something very important to us – there’s usually a large trade off involved. Decided to immigrate to Italy? Yeah, you’ll be able to enjoy the sunshine and eat great food but you’ll rarely see your family. Decided to no longer keep in touch with a guy friend you secretly fancy? No more heartache but also no more incredible conversations.. So how do we make the right choice for ourselves amidst the roller coaster of doubts and emotions?
Know thyself. I know I know, it sounds like common sense, right? This “get to know yourself” phrase seems to be thrown around absolutely everywhere these days and no one quite knows what that means exactly. What I mean in this context is – really, LISTEN to yourself. What is it that you truly want? Do you want to live by the sea, eat pizza and enjoy the slow lifestyle? Or is it what your Mum wants for you and actually what you want is to run around rainy London with a press release in your hand buzzing off of the city’s energy? Or maybe, you’re just burnt out and what you do need is a very long holiday by the beach after which you’ll be running back home ready to take on the world? It’s the inner conflict that’s wrecking all the havoc here – it seems impossible to make ANY choice when it seems that you want two opposing things. But actually when we peel off all the layers of self-doubt and other people’s expectations the direction almost always becomes very clear.
Which promptly brings me to my second point of being brave enough to allow yourself to want what you want and go for what you want. And very often that comes down to our self-esteem. Sometimes we just don’t believe that we can get what we truly want inside and so we settle for less. A job that is comfortable but doesn’t bring joy to the soul? That’s normal, everyone does it this way. This work is comfortable and it pays the bills, it’s more than what most ask for. A guy who can’t commit? That’s normal, he’s just not ready, if I wait a bit longer I’m sure he’ll change. And all because we don’t think we can find a loving partner who is more than happy to commit. So very often we repress the very true desire that we have and settle for a surrogate instead. I feel like in choosing between the two options it’s imperative to truly know what it is that you, yourself, want. No ifs and no buts. Because in order for a great thing to come along we need to make space for it and if it’s taken by a substitute it makes it almost possible.
And finally, time. Giving yourself time and space to meditate on whatever your situation may be is truly golden. The answers aren’t always apparent immediately and can only be seen later, and very often the opposite of what we thought at the beginning.
But if there’s one thing which I consider to be of absolute paramount importance when deciding “to stay or to go” - is giving myself the permission to make a decision that I may later perceive as a mistake – because that’s what life experience is about, right? J It’s always okay to change your mind and try another avenue, trial and error is key – otherwise we risk living our lives paralysed with the fear of making the wrong decision and never make a step forward.