Weighing options is frustrating… Which career should I choose? Should I move far away? Am I ready for marriage?
Choices in life can be difficult. They can have one option or multiple options and when they are difficult- choices suck…
When we are placed in the middle of making a difficult choice, we should always weigh the pros and cons of our decision. Compare and contrast each option as unbiased as we can. Many of these choices are not so clear cut often leaving us to analyze and reanalyze all of the possible outcomes. So why are some of these choices so difficult for us to make?
The problem with making difficult decisions is not in weighing the pros and cons, but rather in how we measure them. As humans we want to reason scientifically, and with that scientific reason we want to quantify both the pros and cons.
For example we weigh objects using the standard unit of measurement of pounds, and we measure the length of objects using the standard unit of measurement of inches. But what standard unit of measurement could you use to quantify unquantifiable feelings such as risk of the unknown, personal growth, or even happiness?
This is where scientific thinking minds cannot compute the possible outcome and just like a computer program, we restart the program. Since we cannot quantify such characteristics with a known standard unit of measurement- we start to reanalyze our choices, run into the error, and repeat this process without success.
The truth about weighing options… The outcome of each choice will be different for each individual based on what is personally important to them at that point of time in their life. This is also true for both quantifiable measurements and unquantifiable measurements.
For example- some individuals will value money for financial security, while others may vary social interaction with their family and friends. Financial security can be quantified in dollars while social interaction isn’t quantifiable to any standard unit of measurement.
So how should you weigh the pros and cons of your difficult choices? Make a list- put every option on it so you have everything in front of you instead of trying to pull from memory. First you must separate the quantifiable pros and cons for each choice. Secondly write down the unquantifiable measurements or feelings for each choice (both pro’s and con’s).
Be honest with yourself! If you do not necessarily know what is important to you in regards to both your quantifiable measurements and unquantifiable measurements just wait and write freely. You will find out what is truly important to you!
Let’s do this for an example using a hypothetical situation with an individual forced to make a career choice. One of the individual’s career options is to become a teacher while the other option is to become an accountant.
Which career would you choose? What would differ on your list? There is no right or wrong answer for this because it depends on the person reading this and what is important to them in both quantifiable and unquantifiable measurements. For this hypothetical situation I have made a list below.
Some people like to combine the lists and add categories, while others like to compare both the pros and cons lists next to each other. Show both the pros and cons of each option alone just as we see in our example above, before combining the choice options into one list with categories. You need to understand what you think of as a pro and a con for each option you may have on your list, as it varies from person to person.
When you are ready to combine your list, remember that not everything listed on your pros and cons option lists has to be added into this combined list. You should only add the important categories that matter to you. The list will also tend to show your bias to the choice option, and what is important to you. This bias should indicate what option your subconsciously leaning towards taking! See below for an example of our combined list with categories.