How to make a hard decision

Young woman with arms in the air giving thumbs up.The word ‘Decision’ comes from the Latin word; decisionem which literally means ‘to cut away’.
When we make a decision we ‘cut away’ other possibilities and decide; ‘this is the thing’ I’m going to do.

Making ‘hard choice’ decision, uncovers a hidden power each of us possess. So what happens when we’re faced with a hard choice? And what makes a choice easy?

The choice itself depends on the alternative choices, relative to it. An easy choice simply means, one alternative is clearly better than the other. (eg; taking the lift to 29th floor, instead of walking up the stairs).
A hard choice means one alternative is better in some ways, but not in others, and the other alternative is not so good in some ways but better in others.

The difficulty making a hard choice decision is when it’s not as simple and exact to decide that one is better than the other, because neither is better, overall.

Hard decisions are not always about things we want. We might have to decide about two things we don’t want. Such as separating from an unfaithful partner. There are pros and cons to staying and going. Most of the time and especially in traumatic situations, we will decide on the ‘safest’ option. Fear of the unknown, is also a motivating factor, but ironically is a misconception about the choice itself. It’s a mistake to think, when faced with a hard choice, that one alternative really is better than the other. It’s not.

There can be shame associated in staying with an unfaithful partner, making it difficult to talk to friends about what you are going through. Equally the fear of leaving and being alone, rebuilding a life again whilst going through such emotional trauma, can be equally unappealing.

If we had something to measure our choices against, like the weight component of two bags of clothes. When one bag of clothes is compared to the other, there can only be three possible answers; it is heavier, lighter or of equal weight to the other.

When we place an emotional value on something, we can no longer compare in such exact measures. Two worlds emerge; one that we can quantify with real numbers and the other we can’t. One is exact with clear distinctions of facts and figures, the other is about what we should/shouldn’t do, how emotionally attached we are to each outcome, our mood at the time, if the stars align…

We can’t use the three possibilities method on hard choices, because they are ‘on a par.’ As Ruth Chang explains it “when alternatives are ‘on a par’, it may matter very much which you choose” exactly because one alternative ISN’T better or worse, than the other.

If every choice we had to make was easy, it would be based on rational decision making (picking the best option out of three possibilities). A world of only easy choices would enslave us to reasons / safety.

People who don’t exercise their rational powers in the face of hard choices, are drifters. I know because I drifted after experiencing betrayal. Perhaps you know someone like that too? Drifters allow the world to write the story of their lives. They let strategies of reward and punishment, fear and the easiness of an option to determine what they do.

The response we make in hard choices is a rational one, but not one that is given to us by another. When making a hard decision, we create a reason for ourselves and enter into a place of creativity, exploration and problem solving that we control and own. When we create reasons for ourselves to become this sort of person, rather than that – we absolutely become the people that we are. We become the authors of our own lives – through our CHOICES.

If any of this is ringing true for you, let’s have a free no obligation chat. Don’t let your life drift away, because of fear and emotional pain.