Making a wise decision with many choices necessitates a wise decision-making process. As someone whom I feel has made excellent choices in my life, I still believe that making an important decision is never going to be simple, but it can be much easier if you consider the following four ideas and are true to the life you wish to live:
1. PRIORITIZE HONESTLY: If you want to make the best choice, first you should list all your options on paper to confront your reality. Once you have listed all options, begin to put them in order based on your priorities. You may even need to make two different lists with variant orders if you have additional factors to consider in your ultimate decision. Try to limit yourself to no more than five choices, preferably three. When making this list, only list the things YOU want to include—not what you family and friends would encourage you to list.
2. CONSIDER REQUIREMENTS: To help you prioritize your choices, you should put an asterisk next to each choice and indicate any requirements that come with that choice, such as a location change, down payment, time off work, et cetera. Once you have listed these additional requirements (which could include deal-breakers or deal-makers), you will once again edit your priority list. But, do keep a copy of the original list! It’s beneficial to keep track of your decision-making progress to validate the deep thought you put into this wise decision.
3. IMAGINE SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM IMPACT: The next step is to add two branches to each of your top three choices and indicate a short-term and long-term effect of making each particular choice. It is your choice if you want to focus on the positive or negative effects… Some sample short-term effects could be meeting new people or trying something new; some long-term effects could be removing a negative influence from your life or possibly finding a new career. You always want to consider what happens AFTER you make a choice—immediately as well as down the road.
4. PONDER THE MOST DIFFICULT OPTION THEORY: At this point, you have in front of you your list of options along with the requirements and effects of each choice. Though it is a natural tendency to prioritize the easiest or safest choice, I challenge you to consider the most difficult choice as the right one!! When I look back at the wisest decisions I made in my life, they were always the ones that required me to make extreme sacrifices, work long hours, study on weekends, break off relationships, and step outside my comfort zone… And, these choices ended up being the experiences that ultimately led me to my dream career as a librarian, my second Master’s degree, my own condo, and a loving relationship.
Wise decisions will not be easy, and will not be decided on a whim. One must act wise in order to make a wise decision. They take careful consideration as well as honesty about what you want and what you are willing to do to get it. Never make a decision that compromises your dignity or your goals. Always make a decision that will have a positive effect on you. And know that the most difficult choice is often the right one because that option will require tremendous strength, courage, commitment, and patience. The best things in life are the things we worked hard to earn!