Which Choice is right?
When we are faced with choices, it can be difficult to know what to do and where to go. What will each choice lead to?
This can be overwhelming even when the choice is something small and not all that important, like ordering from a menu. But it can be even worse when the choice may be life changing, like taking a job, making a move, or changing a relationship. There are lots of barriers to making choices, but there are also lots of ways to overcome those barriers and make a choice you can be confident in and content with.
Black and White or Right and Wrong
When we face difficult choices, we often feel that of all the choices we face, there is only one “right” choice. We then perceive all the other options as “wrong”. Instead of seeing things as they are, we tend to try to find the option that has all the preferred criteria met rather than the most or the best option at the time. To challenge this thinking, we must first recognize what we want from the choices.
Make a list of criteria that make each choice preferable and accept the fact that each and every option you face will meet some of them, but will likely not meet all of them.
It’s also not always about picking the option that checks the most number of boxes. Sometimes one criteria is more important than others and options that meet that criteria have more appeal and carry greater weight.
Doing your best to evaluate all of the options you are facing critically can help you make a choice that you can be confident in.
We often make the choice to make a change in our life because we see the possibility to improve our life. But sometimes, we get stuck in searching for the guarantee that things will improve and we can spend a lot of time evaluating the situation trying to find it. If we can accept that there simply are no guarantees in life and instead look for the signs that the choice will give you an opportunity to improve your life.
It can also help to imagine what are the best and worst case scenarios if we make the change and what are the best and worst case scenarios if we do not.
Let’s face it change can be scary. Making big life choices often leads to making a big life change. And making a big life change often means facing a period of transition, and that can be really uncomfortable.
We can spend a lot of time resisting that change and end up struggling in our current situation because the unknown is scary. Although the reality we are facing might be difficult and stressful, we find comfort in knowing that difficulty and stress rather than face a new reality that could potentially be more difficult and more stressful.
It can be helpful to recognize that we are struggling as well as recognize the positive potential in making the change. It can also be helpful to acknowledge the fear and embrace the discomfort in the transition.
Transition and change are not all bad and there can be value in the growth that comes from that change, even if it doesn’t work out perfectly.
How often do we try to make decisions while we are doing everything else in the world?
We think about the choices we have to make while we are trying to work, while we are spending time with our family, or when we are trying to sleep. We rarely give these important decisions the time and space to evaluate each choice and make a decision that they deserve and then we feel frustrated when we can’t seem to make a choice. We don’t feel like we have all the information and we end up making a choice that feels like we are just guessing.
When we don’t fully look at our options, it is easy to look back when any little thing goes wrong with regret and feel like you made the wrong choice. If we can eliminate distractions and set aside time to really sit down and assess the choices we face, it can allow us to feel like we made a fully informed choice with the information that was available at the time.
We can feel confident and move forward, no matter what the result.
Fear of Following your Gut
Fear can be a big old jerk that stands in the way of a lot of things. And being fearful to take a chance can stop a lot of people from making anywhere from small to big changes in their life.
Here’s the thing.
Sometimes we take the time to do all of the evaluation and assessment. Sometimes we do the pros and cons list and find that Option A has more pros than Option B. Sometimes we find that Option B is also a lot more risky. Sometimes we notice that Option A has more of the criteria met. And yet sometimes, we still want to take Option B.
Maybe it’s always been a dream, or the risk is what makes it appealing. Or maybe it’s for no other reason than it’s a gut feeling. Then do it.
No matter what the outcome. Even if that worst case scenario comes true and you miss out on something even better than you had imagined, have confidence that it was the choice you needed to make at the time and appreciate that there is value in that.
Know that making choices are scary.
It can be overwhelming trying to find the “right” choice or to find the time to evaluate the choices. The best way to move forward is to make a choice and resist looking back with regret. Do what you need to know that you are making the best choice at the time with the information you have.
Stop trying to predict the future.
And if you are still struggling, it can help to talk over the options with a neutral party, like a friend or family member who isn’t involved in the situation, or even a counselor.