“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
My first memory of how tough choices can be to make is Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken”. We’re constantly taking decisions and making choices. From something as small as – the meals you’re going to eat in a day to something as big as whether to date someone or not. As we grow older, the life decisions get bigger and tougher. The stakes involved in the decisions also get bigger. The toughest part of adulting is to make the right life decisions.There are a lot of factors that influence and bias our decisions. Some of the factors are –
- Past experience – If we’ve faced a similar situation in the past, the outcomes of that situation play an important role in our decision making. If something didn’t work out well for you in the past you’re going to try to not go down that path again when the situation arises.
- Risk taking appetite – some people are risk takers, ones who take “the road less traveled” whereas others choose to tread on the path taken by many before them. Our risk taking appetite also influences our decisions. Something as small as what to eat is also influenced by this – someone who likes taking a risk & experimenting might try a new cuisine whereas a safe player might order/cook what they know has worked well for them in the past.
- Current situation – financial/family/economic – There are a lot of external factors such as our families, the economy, this pandemic that also influence our decisions. For example: while switching jobs, you’d keep your financial liabilities and the economy in mind before switching career paths. When Chandler decided to switch career paths and quit his job without any second thought – firstly, that is definitely not how it works in the real world and secondly, his savings and Monica’s job were factors that ensured that he could take this decision. (FRIENDS reference)
- Life goals, dreams & ambition – We all have 10 year/retirement goals. Most of our decisions are taken keeping in mind how we can achieve those goals of ours. Eg: When Monica breaks up with Richard because their life goals didn’t match. (Another FRIENDS reference!)
- Our likes and dislikes – These play a big part in our daily decisions. While our likes and dislikes keep evolving with age and experience but they are a big influence on all our decisions.
- Maximum happiness – All of our decisions are taken to make ourselves happy. We usually go with the option that we think will maximize our happiness quotient.
No matter how structured your thinking may be there are some decisions that are hard and some that you make impulsively. Some decisions just induce a lot of anxiety also – while taking them and later when you have to live through them.
And then come matters of the heart…
When it comes to the matters of the heart – how do you take a decision? Can the above factors be used to take decisions of who to love & date? Most times when it comes to family or someone you love, your feelings and emotions play the biggest role in determining your decisions. But is it possible to use a structured approach to such matters too and if yes, will it be easy to convince the heart to follow what the head thinks?
Maybe you have answers to my questions. Let me know in the comments below – how do you take decisions?