Turn Your Life Around: 11 Great Tips to Make a Confident Decision
We all battle dilemmas from time to time. Dilemmas are hard choices where it seems almost impossible to choose one option over the other. Like when deciding to pack up your stuff, hand in the towel and change your life around. Or like I just did, put my boring life on hold to study photography in a different country. This post is for those who can't decide whether to quit your day job, leave your not-anymore-so-significant-other, take a year off to travel or any similar, truly scary things to do that will set you free. I give you 11 tips on how to make the decision.
1. Evaluate the Current Situation
Constantly evaluate your current status quo and what direction your life is taking. So many people wake up one day realizing they missed out on great opportunities because they take for granted that the current way is the only way. I recommend taking time to conciously evaluate your life at least once a month. I suggest making a list of all the areas of your life and them rate the area from 1 to 10 where 10 is perfect and 1 is disaster. For example financial: 8, social: 5, career: 2 etc. When you know what you are dealing with, it is easier to evaluate your options.
2. Live the Questions
There's a powerful quote by Rainer Maria Rilke (Translated by Stephen Mitchell) that says: "Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart & to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. & the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer". Try to accept that you don't have the answer to everything yet. If you had not been dealing with this overwhelming question, you would not have been growing, evolving, living. Just breathe and don't panic.
3. Follow your heart
Or your gut. Or the voice in your head. The answer lies in you, you are the answer. If something doesn't feel quite right, it is not right for you. The for someone else might just not be your thing. I can usually feel with my whole self that a decision is not right. Let's say your body aches, you are tense and restless. It's your body telling you that you are on the wrong track. The right choice is supposed to give you butterflies, make you jump with joy or sing out loud. But most times it is just not that simple. Then you have to search a little deeper into your soul and see if you can find any signs.
4. Pros and Cons
Lists are powerful tools in a decision making process. Make a list of pros and cons for each option. Don't limit yourself, write down everything that comes into mind, even though they might appear small and meaningless. Feel that you shouldn't get the new job because your office doesn't seem right? Or you don't like the sister of this guy you plan to move in with? Write it down! The trick is how you weigh your pros and cons agains each other. Evaluate every single item on your list and make sure you weigh them according to your priorities.
5. Ask for advice (&don't follow it)
Everyone should have a board of advisers. Go ask your friends, family, collegues, and even strangers. Just make sure that a) your advisers are not biased or can gain anything from you chosing one option over the other and b) that your board of advisers are someone you trust. If their advice don't resonnate with you, don't follow it. And under no circumstances think that you are obliged to follow any advice even though it comes from someone credible, famous, important or influencial.
6. Test it out
Is there any way you can test out a decision before making it? This is what job placements and internships are for! How about giving yourself a limited time to see if something works? I suggest testing out a new vocation or field of study for at least 6 months (or a year) and then see how it goes. If you are not satisfied, find something else. Don't be afraid to fail, the biggest failure is not doing anything at all. I don't belive time spent that don't contribute to your ultimate goal is wasted, all experiences are valuable lessons.
7. Compromise or Find a different solution
Still can't make a decision? Don't worry, none of your current options may be right for you. Sometimes we are so focused on the impossibility of our dilemma that we forget that there are always more than two options. If you can't make a decision you either have to compromise or move on. Don't accept compromise if it won't make you happy. Just go on and search for better solutions. If you want it enough, you will find a way.
8. Fire, Aim, Ready!
The most important step. Jump into the water with both eyes closed if you have to. Don't be afraid of what is ahead, there is only one way of finding it out. Don't spend too long on this point, once the decision is made, it is better to get it over with than to slowly and painfully take baby steps. (However, if you are extra scared and still not sure that you are doing the right thing, baby steps may be your thing).
9. Don't burn bridges & close doors
Even though you are secure in your decision, you may eventually change your mind. Maybe you lose your initial excitement or something unforeseen happens. Don't burn bridges and slam the door in your old boss' face. Keep your options open by gently and politely turning others down. Resign your current status with dignety and respect, and you'll see that if something happens or you realize that your new adventure didn't outweigh your old reality, you'll get your world back and more.
10. Change your mind
11. Go for it 100%
When the decision is made and implemented, when you are living your new life, don't forget to live it 100%. Give it all you've got, don't hold yourself back & live like every day is your last. Chances are that you are now happy that you made the decision and you wouldn't go back for the whole world.