If you're anything like me, at some point in the past you may have found it difficult making life-altering decisions. Either you couldn't rely on advice of friends/family or felt you couldn't put all the pros and cons together to make an informed choice. Regardless, you felt lost, unmotivated, and frustrated. If you're the type of person who can argue both sides of any issue, has a close connection to your family, avoids conflict like the plague, or has a problem with commitment, this post is for you.
I want to talk about a specific type of monumental choice. One warranting deep, introspective reflection and thought(e.g. changing religion or switching careers). First off, I only want to talk about choices that are solely yours to make. The outcome should only directly affect you. Secondly, the results should be totally unpredictable. If you are satisfied at all, you may only feel partially content with the outcome. Also, the problem should not be life-threatening. It should come from a certain restlessness or need for you to grow as a person.
Here are several strategies for making character-building choices:
1)Make mistakes on your own terms. Making a long-shot decision based on your personal beliefs, may be a complete mistake, but at least it will build up your self-esteem in that you'll learn to stand by your convictions.
2)Do the opposite. I'm a big fan of this strategy. Whenever you don't have the time to decide, take the risk. Choose the path less traveled and embark on an experience you've never tried before.
3)Follow your heart. Stay in touch with you emotions. Try creating an inventory of emotional memories. Remember the last time your were angry, frustrated, elated and depressed? What thoughts were going on in your mind? What constructive actions did you want to take? Why not go through with them?
4)Don't think too much. If you find yourself thinking in circles, there's probably an emotional element that you're not taking into consideration. Take time out. Meditate. Come to terms with your emotions and clear your mind. You'll feel better.
5)Isolate yourself. Don't worry about making choices that others might disapprove of. This is a truly personal matter. Justifying a personal choice to others is a waste of precious mental energy. In my experience, the people who don't listen to you or can't/don't understand your actions, are not going to be emotionally supportive anyway.
6)Make a multiple plans. If Plan A doesn't work, try plan B. If you can't make a choice, try all of them. If you have the time and money, why not?
7)What would a person you love and admire do? Most people have someone they respect, but if you're lucky enough to have someone you regard with awe and wonder, look at the way they live their lives. Note: Be careful not to compare yourself to this person. Comparing yourself to another and admiring a person are two different things. One is a self-aggrandizing/self-deprecating mental checklist while the other is a positive emotional connection.
Take action, learn from your mistakes, take responsibility for yourself, but most importantly stay focused!