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Posted by Philip on 17 May 2017, 12:10 pm in , , ,

Making difficult decisions easier

Sometimes making big decisions, especially life changing ones, can be really difficult. Whether or not to quit a university course or a job, end a relationship, make an expensive purchase — how do you decide?

guy with angel and devil sitting on each shoulder whispering/shouting in each ea

Writing a list of pros and cons is the standard advice, but I don't find that useful. Often there are as many pros as cons and discovering that just makes it harder to decide.

When I mentor or coach clients trying to make a significant decision, I suggest the following process, which I've found useful for me:

Make both decisions and see how each makes you feel.

So if, for example, you're thinking about quitting your job, decide to quit for 24 hours. Go about your daily life having decided to quit and notice how you feel. Do you feel relieved, free, liberated? Or worried about money, being able to find another job, missing colleagues?

Then, after 24 hours, change your mind. Decide not to quit. How do you feel?  Bored, stifled, frustrated? Or secure, resilient, committed?

I don't write things down but you may want to.

What I find is that, 48 hours later, I usually have a general idea of which decision feels better, rather than trying to use logic to decide.

Another helpful thing to do if you're still not sure is to make a decision that requires external things to happen — I call it letting fate decide. I did this when I purchased my new car. I had to apply for finance, so I made that the determinant. If I got finance, I'd see that as a sign that it was the right decision. If not, the car was not for me.

When I got finance, just to make sure fate was on my side, I also called my accountant to see if he thought it was a viable investment. He did. Two ticks from fate.

Even though I've had so many problems with the car, I still have a sense of it being the right thing to have done. Trusting that you've made the right decision, even though events may suggest otherwise, is the last and very necessary part of the process.

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