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How to Make a Big Decision

  • 2 min read
A few weeks ago a friend asked me about a choice they needed to make. Both options seemed equally great, and they were stuck. I did not have a clear answer at the time, because I’ve run into this conundrum myself: no matter how long we deliberate or research, outcomes are really unknowable, so how do we best make big decisions? I was noodling over this topic on a recent nearly catastrophic date night. 
It all started off well enough. My partner and I went ice skating under an illuminated Brooklyn Bridge after the sun had set. Beyond the bridge, the rink featured a clear view of the New York City skyline across the river. One moment, I was -awkwardly- gliding over the ice, watching the countless lights twinkle across the face of the water, the next, lights out.
A small child had fallen right in front of me on the ice. Barely avoiding him, I fell and cracked my head so hard on the ice that I blacked out. Moments later, I woke up to a gathering crowd. The kind staff sat me in a chair with big skates on it and slid me off the rink into their infirmary. They bandaged my head and waved a flashlight into my eyes. Sitting there, I wondered just how little extra force it would have taken for me to never get to decide anything again.
We tend to think about our decisions within the context of the “rest of our life.” We assume we have time to put things off until we’re “ready.” Though probably true, this assumption blinds us to the uncomfortable possibility that this decision may be your last. Rather than worry about it though, what if we fully embraced it?
Though anything in life is possible, not everything is. We’re finite beings with limited time for breathing life into possibilities. Those are the rules of the game. When we embrace these rules, it can help us bring our long game into the present moment. The biggest risk becomes losing the opportunity to realize what we care about most.
We’re rarely fully ready. We’re never guaranteed success. Every decision is a risk. With that in mind, this was the answer I finally offered my friend: “If one of these two projects was your last, which risk is more likely to help you become who you want to be?” 
Thank you for taking the time,

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