We all make decisions throughout our lives about what we want to do, who we want to be with, where we want to live and many other ‘wh’ questions.
Sometimes, we may feel trapped by the decisions we’ve made in our lives. For example: in our younger days, we might have accepted a job because it was full time, stable and had a good salary.
Fast forward nine and a half years, and we’re still in that job but unsure why. The job is fine, but it doesn’t give us satisfaction. Our life doesn’t seem quite how we expected it to be. Yet we stay in the job because soon we’ll get our ten years long service leave and can take a month off.
It’s as though we want to leave, but we also want to stay. We feel trapped, confused, not in control of the direction of our life. Do we leave the job as our gut tells us to do? Or, do we stay because it’s easier?
mastering the art of making hard decisions is what makes us feel in control of our life
Making a hard decision vs an easy decision
Hard decisions are a struggle for lots of people, including myself. There are tons of things I know I should be doing, yet for some reason I don’t: making an effort to learn Vietnamese, going to the gym, going out and socializing even when it’s cold and raining.
Many decisions we face have an A or B answer. We can either A: go to the gym. Or B: not go to the gym. Why do we humans always seem to go for the easier decision?
We do it because most of us are inherently lazy, and through our repeated pattern of choosing the easier option over the more difficult one, it ends up that we’re not making any decisions at all.
we probably make far fewer decisions than we realise
Why choosing the easy option isn’t even a choice
Let’s look at the following examples of some decisions you can make with A or B answers:
1) You’ve finished work and you’re a little bit tired, so you either…
A: Decide to cook your own food.
B: Order takeaway so you don’t have to cook and can rest.
2) You’re at home after a big day and you get a message from your friend asking you out to dinner. Do you…
A: Say you’ll go, get up, take a shower and head out?
B: Say you’re tired and stay at home?
3) You’re in a job you’re thinking of quitting. Do you…
A: Have a meeting with your boss to explain why you’re leaving?
B: Decide you’ll do it later because you don’t want to face that right now?
4) You see a person you like at a party that you want to chat to. Do you…
A: Walk up and talk to them?
B: Decide that you’ll talk to them later because you need to work up to it first?
You can see that the As are the harder decision and the Bs are the easier decision. Most of the time, we’ll default to option B.
The issue with defaulting to the easy option is that it means you’re not really making that decision, you’re just being lazy and automatically doing the easy thing. The Easy Thing Monsters are in control, not you. Look at how they work:
Decision 1 to make – Go with the easier option B.
Decision 2 to make – Go with the easier option B.
Decision 3 to make – Go with the easier option B.
Decision 4 to make – Go with the easier option B.
Are you actually making any decisions in this example? No, you’re just doing what’s easier. Doing that all the time isn’t making a choice, it’s just going where the river takes you.
if you always choose the easy option, you’re living your life without making any decisions for yourself
The hard choices are the real choices
It’s when we make a hard decision that we really make a choice. I’ll repeat that: it’s only when we choose the harder thing that we are really making any choice at all.
The hard choice isn’t easy, but it’s a choice because it’s not a default option B, it’s going against it, and that means truly making a decision. Think about it. If your alarm goes off at 6am because you want to go for a jog, but you just can’t bear getting up for whatever reason, are you making a choice to stay in bed? Or are you doing it because it’s easier? Are you just doing the easy option B?
If you’ve come home after work knowing that you need to finish something, but you just can’t be bothered tonight so you’ll do it tomorrow, are you really making the choice to do it tomorrow? Or are you just doing the easy option B?
I’m not saying that you always have to do the hard thing. Sometimes we couldn’t give a crap and we just want to do nothing after a long day, and that’s fine. However if we do that too often, with too many decisions, we’ll soon find we’re not making any decisions at all, we’re just in “option B mode”. We’ve put our life on auto-pilot.
Do you find yourself always doing the easy thing?
Get power in your life
Do you know what making a hard decision means? Power! Frickin’ absolute POWER! Unleash the power in all its might! Use your newfound power to blast the Easy Decision Monsters and their strong arms into tiny little monster bits! Use your godly power to control time and space and take over the world!… Okay, maybe that’s taking it a bit too far, but you get the point: personal power is amazing, and choosing the hard decision gives you that.
This revelation is a beautiful and inspiring thing, because that’s when you start to get more control over your life. That’s when you can start to feel less trapped. That’s when you have power over your life.
Finding my power
Recently I’ve made some hard decisions. I made a decision to leave my job, say goodbye to my family and friends and leave a city and country behind to go off and ‘find myself’ – whatever that means.
These were hard decisions to make, and I spent quite a while deciding them. The hardest part of all was not knowing if I was making the ‘right decision’, but deciding to do it anyway. Now I can say that I feel like I’m actually living! In many aspects of my life I’m feeling less trapped, all because I made some big, difficult decisions.
Choice is a great thing
Of course, I know making hard decisions is easier said than done, and for sure we all both make difficult decisions and choose easier options.
But when you choose to make the harder decisions you are actually making a choice, and choice is a great thing. It’s an authentic thing and it allows you to get your hands on the wheel of your life and gosh darn steer it where you want it to be steered, not where the pesky Easy Decision Monsters want you to go.
Next time you face a decision of either option A or B, think about actually making the choice, rather following the default easy option B route which we all seem to take too frequently. The more often you make a harder choice, the stronger you’ll get and the freer you’ll feel, not to mention power – did I mention the power?
Sometimes, you might be faced with two equally difficult decisions. Take a look at my post, the secret to making a decision you don’t know how to make, for the answers.
Feeling a bit stuck in any aspect of your life at the moment? Take a look at the other posts on my self development page. You can also read my post about how to cope with crap jobs while you strengthen your hard decision-making muscles.