my personal framework for making tough decisions16 Jun 2016
nothing about this idea is revolutionary, but i still think it’s helpful to share.
back in may, one of the guys i mentor reached out to me. he was struggling with a difficult life decision and wanted some advice. as we talked, he explained that he was alternating between two predicted outcomes of his decision that were both fairly extreme. it become clear to me that he didn’t have a clear understanding of all of the possibilities open to him (just the two extremes).
to borrow a term from my math days, he didn’t understand his solution set or solution space. in my opinion, it was this lack of awareness of the entire realm of possibility that had him paralyzed. so i shared with him a simple trick i use in moments like that.
find a way to frame the choice as a two way street: either i do X or i do not do X. then, for each path, really think through the best and and worst possible scenarios. make sure all four options are actually possible. you now have the boundaries of your situation. of course, there are other possibilities, but now you know the limits.
what this often surfaces is that the worst case scenarios are rarely as bad as we perceive them. regardless of which path gets taken, the worst possible thing that could happen usually isn’t that bad. that knowledge then takes a ton of the pressure off of the decision and makes it much easier to just pick something. the
so that’s it. frame the choice. map out best and worst cases. make a decision and then move on it. not complicated, but super helpful.