“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
This is a story, a pattern, which comes up very often when speaking with my clients, when it comes to making big decisions — “should we break up or be together?”, “should I go into debt to buy my dream house?” , “should I leave the country or stay?” — you might find yourself overthinking until you drive yourself insane. When something matters so much to you, is it even possible to make an informed decision?
Let us consider two different individuals making the same decision where both individuals are willing to move into working in the same company. The first one struggles with work there: doesn’t like the place, the system, the people and the mentality. When comparing a new job with the former one; the latter is always the winner. At the same time, he keeps asking himself: “did I make the right decision?” In the end, he moves back to his old job with a feeling of relief, but also bitterness regarding the wasted time there.
On the other hand, the other person adjusts well in his new job, he anticipated some difficulties at the beginning but is ready to compromise and try. Above all he doesn’t ask himself if he made the right decision.
The lesson learned is, there is no right or wrong. The right decision is the one you choose to defend.
In my opinion, the key to making good decisions is balancing your instinct and listening to your logic. Although you can never anticipate what the future will look like following a big decision, one thing is certain: Nothing is worse than remaining in a state of indecision. Deciding not to decide is a decision by itself and it is the worst of all.
So, the question remains for many people. “How do I know it is the right decision?” You have to understand one thing that this decision is the right one ONLY for the present time. You are not going to be the same person for the rest of your life, neither you can predict the future hence you will have different needs, goals and desires/priorities so the decision you are making now is great and that’s OK.
Some may choose to stay and fight a worn-out relationship and win from that whilst another chooses to simply walk away and also wins. One may choose to see all the opportunities in the job and stay even when discouraged; another may choose to change jobs and go for something more. Both decisions can be the right ones.
Yes, we do our checklist with pros and cons before making any big decisions, but if you think this will help you, you are partly right and also wrong. Life cannot be put into numbers. We don’t only make our decisions with our minds, but also with instincts and emotions. So, if it seems right, but you don’t feel right about it, then why go for it?
Another important factor when making the right decision is to make sure that you decide for yourself. If you believe you did it for someone else, then this can place you in the role of a victim and you start blaming the other over time. It will make you angry and bitter. Hence, focus on what you want and avoid prioritising what others want. Remove the bias from your decision-making.
In summary, you should not regret your decisions because you took them based on your specific needs and goals back then. If you regret your decisions, then you regret who you were back then when you made them. Hence, every time you have doubts about your decisions, remember your self-worth is your anchor, and whatever decisions you take, they are part of the process of your development.