Our lives are filled to the brim with choices.
From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, we are making THOUSANDS of split-second decisions.
From what type of milk you would like in your coffee to what social media accounts to follow.
This is exhausting! How to make the right decision when we are overwhelmed with choice?
Apart from being extremely tiring, the constant decision making leaves most of us feeling pretty confused.
And I know for me personally, when it comes time to make the big decisions, often I used to feel more confused than ever.
A few years ago, before I would make a decision, I would ask nearly all my friends for their opinions.
I would make sure I asked each family member for some advice, my superiors at work, even people I hardly knew!
I thought that by asking everyone for their advice, I would make better, well-informed decisions.
What actually happened was this. . . I ended up more confused than ever and also with the added guilt of not doing what my mother wanted me to do.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS ACT FROM LOVE
The thing is. . . when you ask your friends and family on how to make the right decision, they respond from a place of fear
They don’t want to see you suffer so they will always choose the path least painful for you.
So, why did I do this? – Why did I seek the external advice and opinions of others even though they weren’t living my life?
Because I wasn’t sure of myself.
I didn’t know myself 100%. I wasn’t listening to my gut and my feelings.
It was easier to look outwards for advice than to look inwards and listen to my body.
Looking inside myself meant feeling my feelings. And frankly, that was terrifying!
I didn’t trust myself.
HOW TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION
In a book I read a few years ago, I remember one piece of advice. . and I have been using it live a more authentic life for years.
If I am unsure of the path I am taking, I take some time out and follow the next few steps.
These are my tips on how to make the right decision.
1. BEING HONEST WITH YOURSELF
The most important thing to remember. . .
BE TRUE TO YOU.
These steps will only work if you are 100% honest with yourself.
When are you trying to work out what to do, you are only hurting yourself by lying.
Try and imagine your life without your friends and family influencing your decision.
Picture yourself in a blank environment, one where societal imposed rules and norms don’t exist.
For the purpose of this exercise, you live in a blank slate.
A blank slate where YOU MAKE THE RULES.
2. TAKE A PIECE OF PAPER
Paper is far better than a phone.
The words don’t connect as well to your mind and feelings if you are a typing the words.
There is a lot to be said for the physical act of writing the words with your hand and the words connecting to your brain.
3. ASK YOURSELF THIS. . .
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I DON’T DO THE THING?
Imagine that you don’t take the new job even though it pays less? In five years time will you be happy in your current job still?
If you don’t break up with your partner, what could happen?
Pretend you don’t move across the world for a career opportunity, how would your life turn our?
Let’s say that you don’t decide to travel for a year, will you regret not doing it?
Write down all the possible outcomes of NOT doing the thing. Let your mind go crazy here and explore all the possible consequences of NOT doing it.
If you don’t break up with your partner, you might get married in the next couple of years or you might have a child here.
If you don’t travel the world, you might get a promotion in your current job and with that promotion you might be able to afford a house.
The consequences can be both bad AND good, take a bit of time to allow your imagination to do it’s thing.
By focusing on not doing the thing, you are more likely to explore both the negative and positive outcomes.
When you have finished exploring all the options, have a think about how the possible outcomes MAKE YOU FEEL.
If the thought of buying a house with your current boyfriend fills you with dread…then you definitely should break up with him.
Perhaps, the idea of a promotion in your current company makes you feel excited about the future? If so, then you shouldn’t quit your current job.
The point of the exercise is to make you focus on how you feel about the decision you are trying to make.
Stripping away the outside influences and pressures from our external environment. Instead, focusing on your feels, your private wishes and desires.
Learn to listen to what YOU LIKE. Have a read here about the importance of listening to your gut and how to go about doing it.
5. FINAL QUESTION
At the end of the exercise, ask yourself this important question….
In five years time, will I look back and regret my choice?
This is MY SECRET to how I like to live my life.
If I know that in five years time, I will regret not having traveled more . . .
wish I had asked that guy for his number. . .
regret not having taken Tango lessons. . .
then I bloody well make sure that I take the leap and do it!
Life is too short to live with regrets, regrets that you should have taken more risks.
If you are always going to be wondering what could have happened, then you know you should take the risk and do it.
Learning how to make the right decision is about trusting our feelings more.
Learning to block out the outside voices is VITAL to learning to live a more authentic life.
When you are doing the exercise, the most important thing to remember is, to be honest with yourself.
You have all the answers inside of you, you might just be afraid to listen to them at the moment.
Our body knows what is right for us to do, we just lost the ability to listen to it somewhere along the way.
Technology and social media consumed us instead.
It is time to take back control of our feelings and allow them to guide us on how to make the right decision.
No matter what your parents, your friends might say.
If they love you they will support you.
It might take them some time because they don’t want to see you suffer so they will always choose the path least painful for you.