How to make big life decisions
There are many big decisions in your future. For some of you, they’re weighing on you right now. Plenty of you are asking yourselves, ‘What will I do after I graduate?’
Decision-making can be stressful. There is often an element of fear—fear of failure, fear of making the wrong choice. If you google decision-making there are tons of tips out there. You can always toss a coin or take a Girlfriend quiz. If you’re looking for something a little more helpful, our advice might be the way to go.
1. Be Self-Aware
Most people are all over pros and cons lists. After all those uni assignments, you’re good at intellectual analysis. But are you listening to your body? In big decisions, you will probably have a physical reaction. Too much research and intellectual analysis can be a bad thing. Sometimes you have to go with your gut instinct. But also know why you’re reacting a certain way. If it’s coming from a place of fear, the answer might be to embrace it.
2. Gather information without asking for advice
Large decisions can’t be made for you. Plus, you may end up with many competing pieces of advice or advice that goes against the right decision for you. If a trusted person gives you the wrong advice, having to go against that may make your decision even harder.
That doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to other people. Ask for the experiences and knowledge that will help you make a decision, without asking other people what you should do.
3. Worst-case, best-case scenarios
Most people will quickly identify the worst-case scenario. Don’t forget to think about the best-case and likely scenarios. Sometimes fear can stem not from the worst-case scenario, but from the best. You might be anxious about having to work harder, take on more responsibility, or meet higher expectations.
Many decisions are based in fear—the fear of choosing ‘wrong’ by not getting the best result. But often difficult decisions are hard because the outcomes seem to be equal, whether good or bad. So let go of the fear.
4. Just do it
Make a decision and move on. Sometimes your options are equal—just as good, just as bad. Choose one and commit. You can almost always backtrack or make a new decision if that first one doesn’t work out. But also, failure is part of life and success. And as the Dalai Lama once said, ‘Sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.’
Need some more inspo? Try the TED Talks playlist on decision making!