The Happiness Connection  

It seemed like a good idea

When was the last time you had to make a really big decision such as:

  • Should I change jobs?
  • Is this the right person for me?
  • Which house should I buy?

Decisions are part of life. Unless you let someone else take control of your world, they can’t be avoided.

How do you feel about making decisions, especially when they are major ones?

Recently, a friend told me he hated making wrong decisions. I was a little confused by his statement.

How could he know he made the wrong decision unless he has a time machine and can go back for a do-over?

The intriguing thing about a decision is that you only get one shot at making that one. Even if you are faced with the exact same choices again, you aren’t the same person, and your circumstances are different than the first time.

Imagining how an unchosen option might have turned out is just a guess, not a fact. You can never guarantee that any other choice would have worked out better than the one you made.

For example, let’s say you have been offered two different jobs. After consideration, you make your choice.

A few weeks into the new position, you discover it isn’t the job you expected it to be, and you are convinced you should have taken the other one.

How do you know the other job would have worked out any better? You may not have liked that one either. Perhaps you need to look for a new career direction.

If you believe there are right and wrong decisions, the pressure of figuring out which is the correct choice may paralyze you into indecision.

Not deciding is an option, but not one that happy people like to choose. Research shows that being in control of your life plays a major role in your sense of well being.

How do you break away from indecision paralysis?

Start by discarding the idea that decisions are right or wrong.

Yes, there are foolish decisions made every day by millions of people, but sometimes the result of a poor choice is exactly what that person needed to get back on track. Some of the worst decisions lead to wonderful outcomes.

Decisions aren’t right and wrong, they are different.

Make a decision that is good enough, rather than perfect.

Perfection isn’t something that is easy to find. For most of us, it is a case of the positives outweighing the negatives, rather than all positives and no negatives.

A decision doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be made. You can always course correct if you don’t like the direction it takes you in.

Don’t let your mind project too far into the future when you are considering your choices.

Your choice will lead you to take another step on your journey through life, it doesn’t cement you onto one path.

If you decide to work as a contractor, because in 10 years when you are ready to have children, you will have more flexibility with your schedule, you aren’t living in the present.

You have no idea what the world will look like in ten years. Perhaps working from home or setting your own work schedule will be the norm. Perhaps you will change your mind and decide not to have children.

Concentrate on what you want now, rather than worrying about a situation that may never materialize.

The next time you have a major decision to make, try these three tips.

  • Remind yourself that if you don’t like the result of your decision, you can always make another one. Being able to course correct is a valuable skill.
  • Don’t view decisions as being right and wrong. They may not turn out the way you anticipated, but there is always a lesson to be learned. You may even come to be thankful for what seemed like a bad choice, because it leads to something unexpectedly wonderful.
  • Listen to your instincts. If you are drawn to one option, or repelled by another one, your subconscious is trying to talk to you. It is important to listen.

Decision making is a skill that takes practice. Start with frequent small decisions to warm up your decision-making muscles.

Own the choices you make. Some of my best stories start with the words, “Don’t judge me. It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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