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4 Things You Need To Be Aware Of When You Make Difficult Life Decisions

4 Things You Need To Be Aware Of When You Make Difficult Life Decisions

Making difficult life decisions can be a daunting task.  There are many dimensions you must take into account and pitfalls around every corner.  However, rather than becoming paralyzed with fear, follow these sound decision-making insights and make the best possible decisions you can to improve your life and the lives of those who depend on you.

1. Value is Relative

Just how much is that gallon of water worth anyway?

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Interestingly enough, most of us wouldn’t think that a gallon of water was worth all that much–unless we were trapped in the desert and dying of thirst.  Then it might be much more valuable, maybe even worth a few hundred bucks or your left arm?  The value that we place on something revolves around what our personal situation is at the time, meaning that while water is water is water no matter where you are or what you are facing, the value we place on it depends solely on how badly we need it.

So why does this matter when it comes to making important life decision?  Because we are the only people who truly understand the value of our decisions in our lives.  Sure, we want to know what others think about our situations, but following others’ advice without understanding the value of the result in our own opinion can and often does lead to disastrous results.  Solicit others’ opinions, but always make your own decisions.

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2. What do You Want to Come Out of Your Decision?

This one is a little bit harder because it means that we have to accept that there are no “good” or “bad” decisions, only consequences.  The outcome of a decision rests solely on the person experiencing it.  In order to obtain a “good” outcome to a decision, you have to know what you want, meaning that you have to have a goal.

You need to have a clear picture of the road you want to be on when making the choice to follow either path. Then, you have to make a decision that will help you realize that goal rather than making a decision and then trying to figure out where you are headed.

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3. Accept That the Outcome of Your Decision Will Only be as Good as the Effort  You Put in.

When we make decisions, we often think about it as an analytical process: pros vs. cons.  We think that if we do it right, we will ultimately obtain the best outcome.  We think that as long as we spend a requisite number of hours thinking about making the right decision, then we will ultimately be rewarded for making a great decision.

However, the truth is that no matter how much effort you put into weighing all the alternatives and analyzing your situation, no outcome can be considered positive unless you follow through with your decision.  No amount of analysis or systematic thinking will change that.

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Before jumping in and making a decision, generate alternatives and determine what decision you are capable of living with.  And then commit to your decision and commit to its success.  Here are a couple of quick tips to help you focus your commitment and energy:

  • Pay attention to “hard” decisions. When you find yourself in a stalemate between two choices, odds are that the outcomes are so similar that in the end, the actual decision doesn’t really matter.  Either way you’ll experience the same result no matter which path you choose, so spend less time agonizing over the decision and more time implementing.
  • Agree on a decision deadline. Don’t paralyze your life by stalling on important decision.  Rather, set a deadline and stick to it.  Make an agreement with yourself to make a decision by a certain day/time and then meet that deadline.  If you find yourself still stuck, then toss a coin and follow through.

4. Taking a Logical Approach Can Help

Making great decisions is a process.  You have to use a number of thinking modes to come to the best possible solution for you.  You have to be open to being creative and non-judgmental during the early stages of that process all the while understanding that you need to be judgmental in the later stages.  Switching thinking modes at the critical points of the process will help you make up your mind and be satisfied with the results of your decision.   It is during these final stages of the process that it helps many decision makers to make a list of pros and cons to weigh the impacts of the decision.

As a wise decision-maker, you will quickly learn how to place value on alternative outcomes.  The closer outcomes are, the less valuable the decision.  Realize that if alternatives are very close to each other in value, it matters less which one you picks. You should save your energy for more important decisions–those with very different payoffs.

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Last Updated on February 19, 2020

15 Positive Thinking Books You Need for a Happy Life

15 Positive Thinking Books You Need for a Happy Life

Books give us the opportunity to live vicariously through the lives of people with greater wisdom than ourselves. They stimulate our brains and help us not only solve the problems we struggle with, but also motivate and inspire us with new ideas.

One of the great things about people who think positively and live happy lives is that they love to help others do the same. There are countless positive-thinking books and these 15 are a great way to help you start living a happy life.

1. Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor E. Frankl

mans search for meaning

    This book goes through the horrific struggle of Viktor Frankl who survived holocaust concentration camps. The only thing that kept him going was his idea that everything, even the worst of human suffering, had to have meaning. If you’re struggling through anything in your life, I guarantee the words of Viktor will give you courage to press on and find happiness.

    2. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

    tuesday with morrie

       

      What is life’s greatest lesson? Morrie, a retired professor with a fatal disease, opts to use his predicament to share that message as opposed to just giving up and dying. Following the last few months of Morrie’s life will help you realize what is truly important in life.

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      3. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

      Lecture_Book

        Similar to Tuesdays with Morrie, Randy is a college professor who finds he has a fatal disease with only a few months to live. It is customary for professors at his university (Carnegie Mellon) to give a final lecture with the basis of ‘what wisdom would you impart to a large group of people if it was your last chance?’ Randy stays incredibly positive throughout and even keeps the lecture humorous and entertaining. Amidst it all, his wisdom is a powerful reminder about how to live a happy, full life.

        4. Earning Freedom by Michael Santos

        earning freedom

          Michael Santos was sentenced to 45 years is prison for selling drugs. During his term he fought hard to earn a masters degree and half of a doctorate (halted by the warden) while writing numerous books educating students about the criminal justice system. This book provides a fascinating window into his entire sentence (released in 2012) and how a positive attitude and strong work ethic got him through it. If he found happiness in prison through positive thinking, we can do it anywhere.

          If you don’t have the attention span to finish a long book, the following quick reads are shorter but just as powerful.

          5. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

          little engine that could

            This book has shaped childrens’ minds for years. It illustrates the undeniable fact that when you think positively and believe in yourself, you can accomplish extraordinary things.

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            6. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

            The_Giving_Tree

              Happiness is found in giving. What does it mean to love someone? What would you sacrifice for someone you love? This children’s book teaches a valuable lesson about unconditional love and what it truly means to be happy.

              7. The Dash by Linda Ellis and Mac Anderson

              the dash

                “When your life is over, everything you did will be represented by a single dash between two dates—what will that dash mean for the people you have known and loved?” (Linda Ellis) We don’t choose a lot of things about our life – parents, birthplace, etc. – but we can choose what that dash between those two dates means. This short book will give you a great perspective on making your life worthwhile.

                8. As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

                As-a-Man-Thinketh

                  “The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state… Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.” (James Allen) This book might be short, but it is jam-packed with statements that will make you stop and think. We truly become what we think we are. Negative thoughts affect us more than we know. Positive thinking = happy life.

                  9. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald  Miller

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                  a-million-miles-in-a-thousand-years

                    You are the author of your story. No matter how boring or dull your life has been, you can always turn it around. Donald was in a rut in his life. He had no desire to get out of bed and found himself questioning the meaning of life. Eventually he realized he wasn’t a slave to a pre-written script. He used that mindset to turn around his thoughts, actions, and life. When the closing credits roll on the story of your life, what will people say? Never forget that you have the power to push your limits and live an interesting, happy life.

                    10. The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews

                    travelersgift

                      The Traveler’s Gift is a fictional story about a man who is overwhelmed with life and finds himself thrown into numerous true events from history – including Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. He interacts and learns important life lessons from seven different experiences. The book is full of ways to think more positively and find more success in life.

                      11. David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

                      david and goliath

                        Malcolm Gladwell motivates you to challenge your preconceptions of underdogs and misfits in this thought-provoking book. When you break down the facts in the story of David and Goliath from the Bible, you find that David really wasn’t an underdog at all – he was the one with the advantage. This book outlines story after story after story of people who were at a disadvantage and learned to find the strength in their weakness.

                        12. How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton M. Christensen

                        how will you measure

                          How would you feel if you got to the end of your life only to realize you had been measuring success wrong? Clayton provides a mass amount of wisdom and advice on how to live a life you won’t regret.

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                          13. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson

                          Dont_Sweat_Small_Stuff

                            The small things we worry about every day may not seem like a big deal, but they wear us down slowly and stop us from living up to our full potential. Learn how to get rid of those worries and negative thoughts and live a happier life.

                            14. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

                            mere christianity

                              C.S. Lewis, who used to be an Atheist, explains how he came to find meaning in life through Christianity. He breaks down all the reasons we doubt and falter in life and how living the principles of Christianity fixes our weaknesses. Lewis is famous for his deep, thought-provoking quotes and this book is no exception.

                              15. Bushido: The Way of the Samurai by Tsunetomo Yamamoto

                              bushido

                                Bushido is based on the Hagakure, a document that served as the basis for samurai warrior behavior. The document’s purpose was to shape the mind and the spirit of the samurai warrior.

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                                Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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