How To: Make the Best Decisions

From all of my posts, we know that I’m a pretty indecisive person. The questions move from: What is the best choice? to How can I make the best choice? and then to What do I mean by the best choice?

The best choice, after some thought, I think is the choice that I would be the most satisfied with. We try to weigh different factors so that we can lower negative effects, and increase possible positive outcomes. Many times, we make the false assumption that this means that there is a “right” choice and a “wrong” choice–one choice that is objectively better than the other. We think that by our attempts at prediction, we will come to be the most satisfied.

However, I propose that this is not the whole picture. First of all, we are terrible at predicting what will bring us the most happiness. Study after study in psychology and economics shows us this. We obviously can’t predict the future, and if we can’t even predict what we actually want, it seems that we are paddling up sh*t creek (so to speak).

What do we do in this case? We have to reorient the premise of this question and turn it on its head. What if there is no objectively “better” choice? What if the choices within themselves were arbitrary? This is not a premise so far off the mark, given the factors mentioned.

Therefore, it seems as though the choice that will bring the most satisfaction is the choice that we find the most satisfaction with–and not necessarily the outcome. 

Of course, this is restricted to more personal options where cost benefit analysis makes no sense–What should I major in? What career should I pursue? Should I get married? Should I take that trip? Write this book? These are all questions where we could attempt to make some kind of pro-con list, but we know this doesn’t work at bringing us closer to an answer usually. The only situation in these cases when it would, would be if it gave the decision-maker more peace of mind.

Being content with our decision may just have to do with being content with our decision, no matter what it is.

The happiness that we get from our decisions are not from the choice we make, but by choosing our choices–fully embracing them and letting the rest fall to the wayside.