Life presents you with so many decisions. A lot of times, they’re right in front of your face and they’re really difficult, but we must make Each day we go through life making choices. Sometimes they are carefully thought through choices and sometimes they are impulsive. Sometimes we make them based on what we want for the future and sometimes we make them based on what we want right now. And while we all get to make our own choices, we don’t get to choose what the consequences of those choices will be. That’s why it is so important to make the best choices we can each day, living with integrity, and doing our best to do the right things.
5 Pieces of Timeless Advice for Making Tough Choices
1. Think in Years, Not Days
Sorry to sound like your mother or father here, but: Before jumping to a conclusion, consider the consequences of your decisions.
What’s going to happen? And then what might happen? And then?
Simply starting to think in longer periods will help settle your brain and shift from reaction to strategy mode.
2. Take a breath
There’s a reason your mother told you to take a few deep breaths before you get angry.
Make sure when it comes to a decision that you give yourself the space to think between stimulus and response and break your mind out of the destructiveness of "reaction mode.
3. Cut down on the number of decisions you have to make each day
The more responsibility we take on in our lives, the more decisions we’re forced to make. And, as we’ve seen, letting the small choices pile up sets us up for failure.
So perhaps the easiest way to make sure we can face a hard decision with our full attention is to simply make fewer decisions. Think of people like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Barack Obama, who limited their wardrobe choices to a few staple pieces.
4. Do more with less
You might think you need as much information as possible before you’re able to make a choice, but too much research can hurt as much as it helps.
Gathering too much data and asking for too many opinions can lead to mental overload, analysis paralysis, and ultimately making the wrong choice. Instead, learning to recognize when the data doesn’t help, or becomes too much, will ultimately keep you on the right path.
5. Stay away from the ‘What if’ game
Once you’re close to what you feel is the right decision, it’s easy to get sucked into continuing down the same paths over and over again.
One of the hardest things about making a decision is that we are notoriously bad at gazing into our own crystal ball. At a certain point you need to trust you’ve put in the thought and work to make the right decision and just commit.