How to Make a Tough Decision?

I don’t pretend otherwise, but I lead a pretty simple and slightly sheltered life. I’m not complaining; I actually love my life for the most part. And when it comes to decisions, I’ve only really had to face three kinds:

Life or Death?
Means to an End?
No Major Impact

These decisions are simple to me. For most of these, I have been a “trust your gut” kind of gal. These decisions have included:

  • What college do I go to? (Simple: I applied to only the ones I knew I’d want to go to, and when I was rejected to one, I went to the other.)
  • What do I major in? (Easy: I wasn’t skipping my English classes, I always wanted to be a writer, and the thought of law school kept everything balanced.)
  • What kind of car was I going to buy on my own? (Little more complicated: I had  friend that worked for a car company, I had crashed my current car, find a car between a sedan and an SUV.)
  • Do I do a few rounds of chemo? (Probably my toughest decision to date, but by the time I had to decide, it was either that or keep experimenting with failing meds.)

What do all of these decisions have in common? The idea of failure was either too grand (death) or a means to an end. Every decision has an opportunity cost, but the opportunity cost wasn’t equal, if that makes sense.

  • Did I have to go to college? (Well no, but finding a job would be a heck of a lot harder. And I love learning.)
  • What about all the other majors I went through? (None of them kept my interest long enough. Would I have a different life? Sure.)
  • Did I pick the right car? (Price wise and size wise, yes. It was a gut decision I’m glad I made. Plus, I am terrible with cars.)
  • Chemo? (I felt better and normal after the first round. It was the right decision at the time. I could be normal and functioning and not always worrying about my health.)

So. What the heck do I do for a decision that both sides have equally good outcomes and equally high opportunity costs??

Step 1: Pros and Cons List

I have such a love hate relationship with pros/cons list. Even before Rory Gilmore entered my life, I loved them. Rory just helped me realize that no matter how many things you can shove into a list, you can’t make a big decision with them. But, pros and cons list do help organize thoughts, or at least they do for me.

Step 2: Gut Feelings

I bought my car on a gut feeling. I bought my laptop on a gut feeling. I picked my major on a gut feeling. (Seeing the pattern here?) When I was first faced with this decision, the first thing I asked myself was  “What’s my first instinct?” Then I had several people remind me to actually think it through. Which brings me to….

Step 3: Talk to a Friend

The alternative to this is pretend you are giving advice to a friend. I hate that alternative really. So I talked to several friends and got their opinions. Friends let you whine and throw fits and (for the most part) are super patient. And good friends don’t try to influence you too much. They just…listen.

Step 4: Drink, drink drink

Yup. Yup. Yuuuuuuuuup.

I don’t think I want to make big decisions every day, but this one has definitely been fun.

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