How to make a choice? Have you ever wondered how often you have to choose? Almost every second: get up early or still lie in bed, cook scrambled eggs or cereal and milk for breakfast, put on a suit or jeans, take this bus or call a taxi, let the person in front of you or walk around and open the doors first.
Hundreds, thousands of situations in which a person has to choose fill his life. Fortunately, more often an insignificant choice is made automatically. A person does it mechanically, without delving into the essence, otherwise one could go mad from the numerous “or / or”. Choice is an integral part of life, its “engine”. Let’s talk about how to make the right choice.
The right choice: between what and what
“You have to choose between what you are used to and what you are drawn to.” These words sounded in the book of the Brazilian prose writer, who “looks at the root” of the problem. Let’s turn to the psychology of choice. The renowned expert in this field Salvatore Maddi believes that in any situation there are not hundreds of tracks, but only two ways:
- forward to a brighter future;
- back to the dark past.
A person can choose the past and remain in their comfort zone , that is, give preference to the usual scenario, which repeats itself from year to year. Why does the past look so tempting? Because the result of such a choice can be calculated, it is already predetermined (we will not take force majeure into account). If a person knows what result the choice is brought to, he feels himself the master of his life. This is an illusion. At the end, we will tell you in what situation a person really gets the opportunity to control his life.
Choosing the future is about risk and uncertainty. What this road will lead to can only be assumed, and fortune-telling on coffee grounds does not have stability. The choice in favor of the future destroys the framework of a person’s comfort zone, and this is progress and development. Remaining in his cozy cocoon, woven from everything familiar, a person stands still, he does not move forward, but degrades. So why is the choice so difficult sometimes?
The right choice: four points of view
Everyone knows the advice “to look at the situation from the outside”, but no one ever says what this side should be. Any choice has at least four of them:
- In terms of your personal interests.
- From the perspective of another person who is involved in a situation with your choice.
- From an objective point of view: a look at the situation as a whole.
- From the perspective of assessing long-term prospects. This is the same objective view, but from a different angle.
Let’s take a simple example. You have scheduled work on a project that your boss gave you for the evening. The deadline is running out, but then it turns out that your significant other had a surprise dinner in honor of the fifth anniversary of the first walk in public. You have two options: stay home and work hard, or go to a romantic dinner and forget about business.
Your significant other wants to have a good time together. Your boss is looking forward to the finished job. If you evaluate objectively, the dinner was not planned by you personally, and the work is just on the backlog for this evening. If you don’t finish the project, your reputation among colleagues will deteriorate, and management will no longer trust you with such difficult but lucrative work .
Personally, you want to have fun more than pore over boring numbers. If you look at the situation from the point of view of long-term prospects, then a successfully completed project will bring you one more “star” and may become another step in the career ladder to the next promotion. Dinner can be rescheduled to another day if your significant other treats the situation with understanding, discarding selfishness. This is the objective picture of choice.
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How to make the right choice
Remember the words of Woland from Bulgakov’s novel: “Sometimes the best way to destroy a person is to leave him to choose his own destiny.” The catch is that the right choice at the moment when a person makes it does not exist. What is meant by “correct”? One that will bring a positive result, but the result will be known later, in a future that has not yet come. All that remains for a person is to guess and place bets.
Many resort to tricks and give themselves their word that they will choose “as soon as possible”. This “as soon as” can be anything, but more often it means some kind of change in the situation that will help to establish the correctness of the choice, that is, add a couple of weights to the scale in favor of one of the options.
Usually, those who postpone it until better times (Monday, first day, new year), as a result, do not choose, that is, they let everything go by chance. It is important to understand here that “tomorrow” will always loom somewhere ahead, but you need to live a more real “today” and choose here and now. Even if the choice turns out to be wrong, another fall is a great reason to rise again.
Choice Problem: Equivalent Exchange
Unfortunately, every choice has consequences. If a person chooses one path, then he puts an end to another. By saying yes to one option, he says no to the other. This is the tragedy of choice. You can’t get something without sacrificing anything. This is one of the basic laws of life: you have to pay for everything. For some, this price scares so much that they refuse to choose at all, but only make it worse.
Such people have a sense of guilt , which in psychology is called existential. These are regrets about missed opportunities. A person feels guilty before himself for what he did not do, for the chances he missed. Regret sharpens it like a worm and keeps it in the grip of the past. Such people most often do not understand that by torturing themselves, they only aggravate the situation.
Some people also resort to other tricks: they try to simultaneously choose two options and implement them in parallel. An attempt to perform mutually exclusive actions leads to a broken trough already known from fairy tales. Others will “half” the choice, trying to grab something from one opportunity and from its alternative. As a result, they don’t do well in either direction. Simply put, you will not be able to outwit the laws of life. You need to learn to make a choice.
What is the price to pay
Choices made in anger are the result of an impulse, an impulse, the consequences of which are often regretted. Before making a choice, a person must understand and accept the price that will have to be paid for its implementation. Let’s go back to our evening plans example. You choose to have dinner with your loved one, followed by dismissal. What should an intelligent person do? Look for a new job and continue to either not sacrifice it for the sake of personal life, or not to allow situations where they will be on different scales.
What will a weak person do? He will begin to complain about how cruel fate has treated him. After all, such a scenario of the development of events was among the many and you knew about it, but preferred to throw it out of your head as an unlikely option. That was the price of your choice: the likelihood of problems at work. You paid it, but hoped that by some miracle this time the choice would be given free of charge.
One of the serious problems of a person is the unwillingness to take responsibility for the results of his choice . It’s easier to say that fate decreed this, a bad fate, circumstances developed, a neighbor jinxed me. This is easier than admitting that the reason for the situation in which a person finds himself is himself and his decisions. Learn to take responsibility for your own choices. Only in this case will you be able to feel yourself the master of your life, a free person with an incredible number of prospects and “paths” to the future.
Before making a choice, you need to ask yourself two simple questions:
- Do I really need this?
- It’s worth it?
Exactly in this sequence: if not necessary, then the question of price should not arise. The answers to them must be honest, because in an internal monologue there is no need to show off. A person must be guided by both heart and mind in order to make informed decisions. The main guideline is one’s own desires , and not the opinion of others or the requirements of loved ones. Only in this case will the choice be honest and correct for the person himself.