How to Make Better Long-Term Decisions

                                           Photo by  Georgia de Lotz  on  Unsplash

                                           Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

I'm usually the worst at making small decisions.

Like whether I want sugar in my coffee, or which color pen to use.
To be honest, sometimes I can't even decide which turn I want the taxi driver to take on my way home.

But when it comes to making big decisions, I've always been clear about what I wanted. Always quick to make big decisions, and stand behind them too. I have fears, just like everyone else, but one thing I do not fear is making the wrong decision.

I have no room for regrets after I've made a huge decision, by believing in the direction that life takes me, and the wisdom of my inner compass.

It's just a matter of setting that inner compass free, then there are no regrets or worries.

Let me give you some tiyö on how you can access this all-knowing part of yourself. It's always worked super well for me, so I'm hoping it can help some others as well.

In order to do this, you must rid your mind of ulterior motives. You might not even know they're there, but they might be clouding up your mind as you struggle with your choices. Usually, the main thing that holds our mind hostage is fear, driven by the will to survive.

By nature, we are programmed to stay away from what is unknown or risky to be protected. But almost always, the unknown and risky is the very thing that will lead us to something better.

Here is an except from an article by Titanium Success:

" 'Rule #2: People Will do Much More to Avoid Pain than they Will to Gain Pleasure'

As it turns out, while human beings want to both avoid pain and gain pleasure, they will do more for one than the other. Avoiding immediate pain is much more motivating than gaining immediate pleasure. If there is a lion running after you versus a suitcase full of money in front of you, which would motivate the average human to act quickly? Avoiding a certain amount of immediate pain wins over gaining immediate pleasure every time. Studies have demonstrated time and time again that people will do much more to avoid short term pain than they will to gain short term pleasure."

The problem with this human tendency is that usually, great things await on the other side of discomfort. And if we are always avoiding discomfort, we'll live our lives on the surface. Never experiencing the thrill of diving deep under.

This is important to keep in mind when unraveling your mind prior to a big decision.

When making a big decision that might alter the course of your life, a good rule of thumb is to go where the fear resides. Yes, fear.
You must unlock that fear, feel it out and set it aside.
Otherwise, it will affect and contaminate your whole decision making process and the outcome as well.

Here is a basic guideline on how you can do this for yourself:

  • Firstly, write out your situation. Do not filter anything out. Get out your fears, concerns, and your current situation in full honesty - no sugar coating (that's the trick). Usually, once you begin journaling your thoughts will take you one direction or another. Follow this. Write everything down.
  • Next, write out your options in bullet points. Write out each option along with it's opposite choice.
    • ex. Move to Bali/Don't move to Bali
  • Take a look at these options you have written.
  • Now write out whatever thoughts arise when you look at your options. Even the simplest thoughts, or the most insecure, or the most vain. Do not judge here. Just write. Try to locate the motivation within these thoughts.
  • Usually, this last bit of journaling leaves the right answer exposed. Because you can clearly see what the choices you're compelled to make are influenced by. 
  • If you do not reach an answer by this point, look for fear. Yes, fear is your best guide.
  • Go through the options in front of you one by one. Identify the reasons as to why or why not each option is a good choice.
  • For one of these choices, your only (or main) excuse against it will be that you're scared. Aha. Fear. That is the one to choose. That's the one to grab onto.
    • For example, if you know deep inside that you're supposed to go to Bali, you first excuse for why not might be financial. How will you make money?
      There's always a solution for that. You can always find a job. A waitressing job, a dog walking job, anything. This isn't a valid excuse, as there is a solution.
      This excuse, is fear in disguise.
      A valid excuse, would be if you had a really good relationship back home. And you were absolutely sure you wanted to spend the rest of your life with this person.
      In this case, there is no fear present. So this option is a valid one.

Usually, one thought leads to another when you use this method.

As you get more and more of your thoughts out of the way by writing them down, you are able to see the choices and your inner guidance most clearly.

You can locate the fear clouding up your options when you do this right. 

The right choice, is often the one that the most amount of fear resides with. 

In different ways, too. There are usually more reasons than one for you to fear the right choice.
But it doesn't change the fact that it's the right choice.

The right choice, is always messy when it comes to big decisions. It's the one that you can't say much about. Because it is the unknown. 
The wisdom that resides with this choice is not yet present within you. It is a lesson you must go out and acquire.

Writing out our thoughts when they are coming on in a whirlwind is a very important tool. This way, you can get to the bottom of the actual problem, rather than fidget on the suface.

Us humans are very complex creatures, equipped with a conscious mind and an unconscious mind.

I guess I'm bad at making small decisions because my conscious mind always comes up short. My common sense struggles to come to an initial decision, busy weighing all the options and seeing a pull factor in every choice. Even in having a bitter flavor in my coffee, versus sweet. 

My unconscious brain, however, is where my wisdom resides. It's just a matter of weeding out the products of your conscious brain and letting your intuition do the work for you.

There is never a right or wrong choice. There is a choice that is right for each of us, at a particular time.

<--Tiyö: The mind fools. The body knows. ----<


ps: Please leave a comment telling me whether you tried this technique and how it worked out for you! Looking forward to hearing your experiences.