Making decisions can be tough at best, and irritating, annoying, or depressing at worst. Whether you are a decision-master who can easily make decisions without giving much thought to it, or an unfortunately indecisive soul who struggles to make the simplest of decisions; there comes a point when you have to choose… and you have no idea which one.
Decision-making is a guided process until we become experienced enough to make our own decisions. From when we are young, we are sort of ‘taught’ how to make the “best decision.” The guidance goes something along the lines of “You weigh the pros and cons of all choices and choose the best one…” Yet, if you chose to be a lap dancer versus a college student because its “pros” are more, they would probably tell you that it’s not a “very good decision”.
Sometimes we are told that the “best decision” is the one that is “best for everyone”. How am I supposed to know what’s “best” for everyone? Why should I have to make the decision for everyone? What if there is no “best” way for everyone?
Once in a while we are told to go with the one which we “feel like” is the best. If you are in a dilemma, confusion and under a great deal of stress — approaching desperation — this isn’t going to help either: “I feel like blowing up the world… that must be what I should do then!”
Finally, “Just make a decision already!“ is probably the least helpful of all the guidance in the world.
No matter which one you follow, the guidance will probably not be useful for every situation. There will be times when you choose “obviously not the best” choice, yet everything works out perfectly for you. Sometimes you make the “wrong” choice, but it is the right choice for you.
The question is: what is “best” or “worst”? Which is the “right” choice and which is the “wrong” one?
For me, there is a simple guide with a single point in it. Even though it is very obvious, I took my time to get to it. Here it is:
It doesn’t have to be seen as the “right” thing to do for other people. It might be the “most ridiculous thing to do.” They might agree with you, or they might stand against you. You might get laughed at, or even labelled as ‘stupid.’
The truth is, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. They think it’s the wrong decision only because that is not what they would choose. It seems ridiculous to them only because they are not used to it. It goes against them only because that’s what they’ve always seen, done and learned.
And just because things have ‘always’ been done in a certain way doesn’t mean that is the only way, or even the “right” way.
This is your decision. Your life. Your choice. You will be the one living with its consequences. You are the one responsible for your decisions. So whenever you need to make a decision, think whether you will regret it later or not. How much “later”? One year, 5 years, 10 years, a lifetime… however far you can imagine. Then, no matter what others say, decide on the one thing that you know you will not regret.
This is because you can easily learn from your mistakes, correct them or be able to live with them — only if you have no regrets for making them.
Sometimes you might not get any support on the decisions you make. Yet, keep following your heart and be true to yourself. In the end, even if you have made a bad decision, you can proudly come out and say “I don’t regret it. That was what I wanted to do. Even if it didn’t work out, I’m glad I followed my heart.”
However, if you make a decision that you don’t fully agree with deep inside or one that you know you might regret later, then there is nothing on Earth that can erase that regret for you. You will forever wonder what it could have been like had you decided differently.
Have foresight enough to know what you will and will not regret, and be strong enough to stand behind your decisions no matter what. Then, nothing will be able to stop you.