A Bit of Decision Making Advice

Making the choice to quit my jobs, pack up my life, and go travelling for an indefinite amount of time wasn’t easy.  In fact,  it’s taken the most consideration and careful thinking of any decision I think I’ve ever made.  I’ve always been a terrible decision-maker–I take a long time to make even little decisions.  Recently, however, I received a great piece of advice from a friend, that has made decision making a lot easier for me.

In talking with my friend, she mentioned hearing some advice for how to deal with a difficult decision:

Does thinking about doing ___________ make you feel lighter, or heavier?

Stop and think about it for a minute.  Consider a big (or small) decision you had to make recently.  In thinking of option A or option B, you can probably relate one option as making you feel lighter–it feels easier, you smile a bit internally, you breath easier.  In comparison, you can probably relate the other option to making you feel heavier–it might make you think of more work, or hoops to jump through, or breathing a sigh of “here we go again”.   It might not be a huge difference, it might be subtle, but it’s probably there.

When Braydon and I started talking about travelling, there is no doubt that the thought of travel made me feel lighter.  But that was just in the baby stages of “Wow wouldn’t it be great if we could …”, and let’s face it, daydreaming about life dreams often makes us feel lighter and excited.  Then we started to seriously consider if we could pull off a trip like this.  A little more lighter/heavier comparing at that point:  spend the money on travelling, or wait, work for another year, and then reassess the situation.  Backpacking still earned the title of lighter at that point.  And then the reality of the decision came front and centre–I had the money, I had the desire, but was I willing to give up an extremely stable career, my living space, and everything I knew in order to pursue this dream?

That’s when this piece of advice started to really play its part.  It was no longer a fantasy plan that was way off in the distance…it was a potential reality in a little over half a year.  I spent many days pondering exactly what I thought, and the question in the back of my mind was always

Does the thought of quitting my job, leaving my home, family and friends, to go pursue my dream of long-term travelling make me feel lighter or heavier?

Looking back now, I doubted myself a few times, though I always knew that the answer was lighter.  I have a side of me that wants to make the “right” decision–by that I mean the what’s-safest-and-is-the-most-logical-in-the-long-term decision, which would have been to keep the stable, long-term job and stick close to home.

However, in my mind that was also the most boring decision.  And I don’t intend to live a boring life.  Yes, it’s a bit of a leap to pack up, take off, and see what the world has to offer, but if not now, when?

Do you have a go-to decision making helper?  When I was a kid my mom used to tell me to flip a coin, and if I felt bad about whichever choice came up, I would know the other one was the choice I wanted.  Some people make the big pro/con list.  What’s your strategy?

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One response to “A Bit of Decision Making Advice

  1. Pingback: The two hardest things in the world to say | patrickdsouza.me·

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