Major decisions are tough; whether they’re related your job, family, significant other, or you as an individual. This is only further complicated in a world with seemingly infinite choices. In these moments we seek out the opinions of those we hold in high esteem and look to various articles/books for insight. But no matter which route you take, things always point back to a defining ability or inability to make decisions that reflect the person you want to be.
The quality of your major decisions increases exponentially when you pause to first consider, “Does this decision reflect the person I aspire to be?” If the answer is no, it’s back to the drawing board. This method of framing decisions helps tune out surrounding noise and refocus on the heart of the matter.
If you can renegotiate your decision-making process and assign this idea its appropriate value, you’ll be better for it. It requires a great deal of courage and self-control, both essential skills if you wish to achieve self-actualization and a sense of fulfillment in life - as defined by you.
What makes things difficult is that the vast majority of people choose unhappiness over uncertainty. There's a natural aversion to change that paralyzes most of us. We trick ourselves into believing that we're not ready to make major decisions or that the status quo is 'good enough' because our fear of uncertainty is so strong. It's a coping mechanism that we use to make ourselves feel better about less-than-stellar, often self-inflicted situations or periods of stagnancy.
However, major decisions require change and guarantee a degree of uncertainty. There's no way around it. To bridge the gap between the person you aspire to be and where you currently are, you have to make difficult decisions and deliberately step foot into uncharted territory.
If you want to be courageous, be courageous.
If you look at the most rational, successful people in the world, they have spent years fine-tuning their decision-making processes and abilities; all of which center around courage and self-control. This helps to optimize situations, but most importantly one's self.
Courage is at the foundation of every decision that aligns with the person you want to be. Everyone I know desires the ability to unapologetically make decisions that reflect this sentiment because it grants you direct control over your own life. Whether or not you choose to embrace this responsibility and initial uncertainty is of course up to you.
The good news is that the end result dwarfs the momentary discomfort and uncertainty. Self-actualization is invaluable and promises comfort in a more authentic version of yourself. This translates to clarity, fulfillment, or at the very least fewer regrets.
The ideal self, the one you aspire to be is a moving target. It changes, evolves and grows with time. But it should always be held in focus at the center of our minds. Reflecting on the person we strive to be should be present in every decision we make. It’s all the more important in the toughest of situations.
“Courage, dear heart.” – C.S. Lewis