I can honestly say that I have always struggled with the larger questions in life. What do I want to do for a job? Why does everyone else seem to have a plan when I don’t? Is this the person for me? Will I know ‘the one’ when I meet them?
For as long as I can remember I have been encouraged to think for myself and make choices. Nobody tells you when you’re selecting chocolate ice creams over vanilla that these choices will gradually expand in size as will the consequences. You steadily move from choosing friendship groups and fashion statements to subject choices, university and then life in general, jobs, mortgages, partners and children. It all comes at you like a bat out of hell. At what point did I become a grown up? And why did nobody warn me?!
The age-old question of ‘What Should I Do?’ seems to be embedded in all of us with the inherent flaw being that we do not try to manage the problem alone but seek the advice of our friends, family and co-workers. I stand back from my friends, family and co-workers knowing their advice comes from experience and what they believe is best for me but somehow I start to pull it apart. ‘Yes, but they got together at 16’. ‘Yes but she is with someone she doesn’t really like,’ ‘I agree but is this really it for my career’.
So, ladies and gentleman I cannot say I have found an answer simply a few techniques to manage the questions and guide you down the straight and narrow path otherwise known as logic. Logic is defined as ‘reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity’. I see this as weigh it up and select the choice that meet your needs most. Easier said than done but nonetheless we must try!
We are confronted by decisions. Most are irrelevant. Which pudding to pick from the menu, or what colour to paint the walls. They are decisions that will not affect us in the long run but each decision implies an implication…’if I do not get this right I will be dissatisfied’.
So lets spin this around. We must retrain ourselves to think long term. For example, ‘if I do not get this right, it will be annoying but I will know for next time’. Realising that even the larger questions are simply lessons learnt, not absolutes helps to soften the blow. It also helps those of us that need a little push when it comes to spontaneity.
Your decision making process also needs to fit your personality. If you are a practical minded person relying on the advice of your best buddy who isn’t their conclusion is unlikely to satisfy you. You need to be confident, not in the choice itself but why you have reached the decision you have.
Below I have listed a range of character types and attempted to link these to the appropriate decision making method.
Take time over your choices. A passionate person will often jump in both feet first and only realise they can’t touch the floor once it is a little too late. To be passionate about your life and your choices is an excellent attribute and you should use this drive to extend yourself rather than to allow you to be pulled in the directions of others. Think carefully, write lists, talk to friends and revisit the topic over a period of time.
Remove alternative options by setting yourself standards. Consider the statement: In 10 years time I would like to be….It will provide you with a bar to set/ an ideal to work towards. Think about how your question fits into the larger picture, if you do not take your job are you less likely to be where you want to be in ten year? If you stay with your partner is this how you see your personal life continuing?
Seek out advice from those you do not know. Perhaps a problem page or discussion group can help provide you with options and opinions that you had not otherwise considered without you becoming self conscious that friends and family may judge your question or decision.
Write a list of pros and cons. It is clear, concise and honest. One will inevitably outweigh the other.
As an adventurer you are bound to have taken risks before. Look back and review your experiences so far. How have these played out for you? Did you gain amazing experiences because you took a risk or did you discover that, in fact, home is where the heart is? Think about what you have learnt about yourself so far and how being honest with yourself could affect your choice.