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If you're worried about making the wrong decision...


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I found this 15 minute Ted Talk very helpful




"For lots of rational modern folks, the natural way to look at truly hard choices is the same way we look at any other choice. As always, there are pros and cons to each alternative, but in the case of tough choices they're of different types, so the alternatives are hard to weigh. How do you compare the benefit of being close to your childhood friends versus the possible financial payoff of that program on the opposite coast? And what's more, how can you be sure, really, how much you truly value each until you experience both?

In this view, the problem is your imperfect knowledge of your preferences and your lack of foresight about how options will play out. The natural response is to pine for more information--if only God could send you a couple of DVDs of your two possible futures and you could view them side by side, you'd be all set, is how Chang sums it up.

The result of this fruitless search for sure comparisons is a whole lot of unhappiness and, in many cases, a final decision to throw up our hands and just choose the safer option. If you can't really justify the new or scarier path, it's pretty hard to pick it, after all.

A Better Option

But according to Chang, this isn't the best way to look at hard choices. "It's a mistake to think that in hard choices one alternative really is better than the other, but we're too stupid to know which, and since we don't know which, we might as well take the least risky option," she says.What then is a better way to think about our most agonizing decisions? Not as the rough equivalent of a really, really hard pop quiz from the universe, but instead as an opportunity to write your own identity, assert your values, and actively shape your life. Use decision-making as an occasion to create a right answer, rather than expect to find it outside of yourself somewhere.

'When we create reasons for ourselves to become this person kind of person rather than that, we wholeheartedly become the people that we are," Chang says. "We become the authors of our lives.'"

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