Advertising
Advertising

How To Make Life’s Hardest Decisions

How To Make Life’s Hardest Decisions

What do you do when faced with a big decision to which you don’t know the answer?

Do you opt for the middle road that marginally meets everyone’s needs? Do you sacrifice your needs for others? Do you randomly pick an option, and simply hope for the best? Do you pick what seems to be the most logical, even though you are not 100% sure?

Today, I have three decision making methods to help you break out of any dilemma.

Method #1: Fast Forward Method

The first method is the fast forward method. Here, you mentally project yourself into the future, a.k.a. “fast forward” your life, and contemplate this decision from this future point in time.

How to Apply

  1. Consider a decision you are facing right now. It can be a small or big decision. It can be regarding your friends, your love life, your career, your business, your health, and so on.
  2. What are the main options you are considering with respect to this decision? Write them down.

Now that you are done, review the following steps:

  1. Mentally fast forward to one year into the future.
  2. What would your life be like in each option? Be as detailed as possible.
  3. Which option would you want to be living a year from today? Why?

(If you wish, redo the exercise with two different time frames: (b) Three years (c) Five years. You should get the same answer. If not, try to understand why.)

Example #1: Quit Job or Later?

The biggest decision I had to make up till my mid-20s was whether to (a) quit my day job right away to pursue my passion to help others grow or (b) work for a couple more years before quitting to rake in more savings. The first option would bring me fulfillment because I would get to pursue my passion right away. The second one would put me in a calmer state of mind regarding my finances, since I wasn’t expecting any income in the initial phase of my business.

Advertising

Initially I was unable to decide because both options had their pros and cons. Each one would aid me in some manner with regards to pursuing my passion.

When I fast forwarded myself one year into the future though, the answer instantly revealed itself, “Quit right away and pursue my passion.” There was not even a moment of hesitation or doubt.

Reason being that even if I were to pursue my passion and make little progress after one year, two years, or even three years, I would still be making more progress than if I continued working in my day job. Every extra day I stayed on at my day job meant delaying the pursuit of my passion by another day, and subsequently delaying the realization of my dreams.

By adopting a future perspective, it removed me from my present situation, which helped me to evaluate the decision more consciously. What might have seemed crucial from a three to six month time frame melted away when I looked at the situation from a one-, three-, and five-year point of view. I was able to see the things that really mattered vs. the things that might seem important in the short term but did not matter in the long run.

Method #2: Ideal Vision Method

Albert Einstein once said: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” If you want to break out of your current problem, you need to adopt a different frame of mind – the mind of someone who has achieved your ideal vision. This is what I call the Ideal Vision Method.

How to Apply

Consider a decision you are facing now. (You can use the same decision from the previous exercise.)

  1. Think about your ideal vision with respect to this area of your life.
  2. Imagine you are living in your ideal vision right now. What would the You in your ideal vision do in this scenario?

Example #2: Start My Own Venture or Join My Friend’s Venture?

Let’s say your good friend is starting a new business and he invites you to join him as a partner. However, you are in the middle of starting your own business at the moment. This is an idea you’re very passionate about and you’ve been meaning to do it for a long time.

Advertising

Either venture will take up a considerable amount of your time and it’ll be tough to manage both at the same time.

Using the Ideal Vision Method, you create your ideal vision for your career. As it turns out, your vision is to turn your passion into your career. You want your business to be renowned in its industry. You also want to earn a substantial income from your business every month, which is a natural consequence of being really good in what you do.

As the You in your ideal vision, it becomes clear that you have to reject your friend and focus your efforts on your business.

While the opportunity with your friend looks tempting at the present moment, it’s only going to divert your attention from realizing your passion. You know that success, learning opportunities, and business networks are all things that will come your way as you succeed in your venture.

Method #3: Heart Method

The last method, the Heart Method, taps into a fundamental core of what makes us who we are – our hearts. You can also think of this as listening to your gut or intuition.

How to Apply

Consider a decision you are facing right now. (You can use the same situation as the previous exercise.)

Now, close your eyes. Clear your mind. Think about nothing but this particular decision you are facing.

Advertising

Listen to your heart. What is your heart telling you? What is it gravitating toward? That’s your answer.

Example #3: Reconnect with a Friend Who Betrayed You?

Let’s say you have a friend, B, who betrayed you before. You have been unable to forgive him for that incident. Because of that, both of you split ways. There was a point after you split ways when he tried to reconnect with you, but you ignored him as you couldn’t forgive him.

Recently, something came up that you need his help for because of his background in the subject matter. There are two paths you can take here: Reconnect with him or seek help somewhere else.

It’s not necessary for you to reconnect with him because there are other people you can approach; plus it’ll be awkward to talk to him again after all these years. Not only that, you still feel resentful for what he has done. Logically, you should just approach someone else.

As you listen to your heart, it tells you to put this resentment behind you and reach out to him. Not because you need his help, but because holding on to the resentment is silly. You are hurting nobody but yourself. He has reached out to you before, which means he has already taken the first step; yet you are still being an *ss by refusing to accept his connection.

Your heart also says that your connections in life are more important than any motivations or agendas you may have. Love, not hatred, not fear, is the key to living a happy life. You can go about living your daily life as if none of this is relevant to you, but it does not deny the fact that you are still resentful toward him and you are denying your connection with him because of that. This resentment that you carry around you will only make you a weary soul. It pulls you down; it doesn’t lift you up.

Forgive him and reconnect with him, not for him, but for yourself; for the salvation of your soul. Love him as you would yourself. Stop viewing him with tainted glasses; instead, give him a fresh chance.

Advertising

Rounding Up

Sometimes, you may get an answer you don’t like from these three methods. It’s possible that the answer isn’t something you want to take on right away. It’s possible that you don’t even want to think about it.

There are times when I get answers that I don’t like from my own methods. However, it doesn’t change the fact that there is some truth behind them. Actually, a lot of truth.

I’ve found, from experience, that it’s only when I stop running and embrace the truth that I really begin to resolve my problems. Remember, faulty thinking leads to faulty solutions, which perpetuates our problems. To solve our problems, we need to approach them from a different place.

Perhaps the final thing I want to add is that when it comes to making life decisions, you shouldn’t make them based on what’s best from the current circumstance. To do so would be to compromise on your real wants. Rather, use the three methods to figure out what you really want, then find the way to get there. Your WHAT should come before your HOW, not the other way round.

I hope you’ve found this article useful. What you decide to do is up to you and it’s your decision to make. Decision making is never easy, but it’s when we make up our minds that we move forward in life.

This article is about tackling life’s biggest dilemmas. For day-to-day decision making, read How to Stop Analysis Paralysis and Make (Good) Decisions Quickly.

Read the original article in full: How To Make Life’s Hardest Decisions: 3 Decision Making Methods to Solve Dilemmas | Personal Excellence

Featured photo credit: snigl3t via flickr.com

More by this author

Celestine Chua

Celestine is the Founder of Personal Excellence where she shares her best advice on how to boost productivity and achieve excellence in life.

11 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Results on Your Goals How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity 42 Practical Ways to Start Working on Self-Improvement 5 Reasons Why Being a Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect

Trending in Work

1 10 Simple Yet Powerful Business Goals to Set This Year 2 13 Characteristics of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs 3 5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All 4 10 Simple Habits Every Effective Manager Needs to Learn 5 10 Ways To Help Your Employees Have A Healthy Work-Life Balance

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

Advertising

“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

Advertising

The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

Advertising

You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

Advertising

Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

Read Next