Choices. We’re faced with hundreds of choices everyday. Some small – do I want marmalade or vegemite with my toast this morning? Some big – should I accept that job offer with the attractive salary bump but requires a move away from family and friends? Some choices we don’t even realise we’re making because they’ve become habits. Some choices or decisions are easy …. and some cause incredible angst because your decision will have a significant impact on your life and the “right” choice isn’t always so obvious.
The attached TEDTalk by lawyer-turned-philosopher Ruth Chang provides interesting insight on why hard choices are … well … HARD … and why having to face hard choices is not necessarily a bad thing. It boils down to this – making big decisions in life for eg what career path to pursue, who to marry, which city or country to live in cannot be solved through logical pro/cons lists; through the simple adding up of pluses and minuses on either side. Because chances are there will be equal – but different – pluses and minuses for each choice. A career in law has it pluses and minuses as does a career in philosophy. They are both good (or bad) … just different.
So the key to deciding which is the “right” choice for you lies in a more intangible, unmeasurable factor – your values or what you place an importance on – and here is where the hard choices really lie. Because at the heart of it, what you’re really faced with is not just a choice of career paths … but a choice of who you really are as a person and what values you place the highest importance on … who do you see yourself as. Is it important for you to have the financial security of being in a corporate job or to have the freedom of being your own boss? Are you a banker or an artist at heart? Are you more fulfilled by the sense of adventure from living in different cities and making new friends; or is staying close to home to nurture current connections with family and friends more important?
It is only when we are faced with hard choices that we truly dig deep to ask ourselves these hard questions. I was faced with some hard choices recently…really hard ones. Ones that caused me to truly dig deep and be honest with myself in terms of what is truly meaningful and important to me. It wasn’t easy but the rewards are definitely worth it.
That’s why having to face hard choices is not necessarily a bad thing. For it can ultimately help define who you are as a person …. if you’re willing to be honest with yourself. Are you?
View the TEDTalk by Ruth Chang – How to Make Hard Choices here