Steve and I were walking our dog through one of the nature trails near our house recently. We were admiring one of the giant houses that backs onto the trail. It was a multi-million dollar home designed by an architect we admire. “What do you think these people do?”, Steve asked. He meant ‘what do they do for work?’ I replied “They make good decisions.”
It got me thinking about decisions, both good and bad. There are lots of objectively bad decisions we could make, but most of the time we’re just picking from a bunch of different options, one no better than the next.
What makes a decision good or bad is how it helps us progress towards our goals. If we’re not clear about our goals, it’s easy to make a bunch of bad decisions.
Eating a plate full of cakes, cookies, and donuts might seem like a bad decision, but if your objective is to indulge on a cheat day from your diet, then it’s a good decision.
Taking a well-paying job at a law firm might seem like a good decision, but if your objective is to change careers to have more work-life balance, then it might be a bad decision.
When Steve and I think about the decisions we make as a couple, we try to think of our broader goals. This is especially helpful when we’re torturing ourselves to figure out what is the right thing to do. There is no right thing. There is only the right thing for us which may be different from the right thing for you.
I also think about this a lot when others ask me for advice. My first question is “What is your goal?” Once they’re clear about that, the right decision stands out from all other options.
Give it a try the next time you’re struggling to make a decision.
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