Have you ever had a tough decision that weighed on your mind far longer than it should have?
Making difficult decisions is part of life and I don’t think it gets easier as you go. In fact, when you get older the decisions you make affect lives other than your own, which can make it even more of a challenge. If you want to make a career change, or even if you just want to move, it can be tough. You’ll have to weigh the pros and cons not only for yourself but often for your family too.
You’ve probably heard of decision making methods that rely heavily on comparing the positive and negative. You take out a piece of paper and you start writing down whatever comes to mind. When you’ve thought about every possible issue, you stop and examine the results. If you have a longer pro list then the choice is easy.
But what if you’re just deceiving yourself into creating a biased list? You really want that new sports car, so you disregard the fact that your student loans still haven’t been paid off. Maybe you love the idea of moving into a new house, but haven’t considered that you might be perfectly happy where you’re at!
There’s a better way to make a decision that you’ll be happy with. Isn’t that the most important part of the decision anyway?
This visualization technique will help you consider details that you might not have considered otherwise. As an example of how to use this visualization technique let’s imagine a difficult decision for a moment. Consider this – You’re working in a fairly secure job right now with a respectable income. Recently though a job opened up that you think you’d really enjoy doing. The job doesn’t pay as well, but you imagine that it will be more fulfilling. It’s a risk to take this new job because you don’t know anyone at the office and don’t know if it will work out in the long-run. Here’s what you can do to see how it’s going to affect you:
- First, imagine what it would be like to work in this new position. If you can, go to their office and notice the mood of the workers. Get a feel for the work environment and imagine yourself spending your days there. Try to imagine your emotional state and the thoughts that are going through your head. Are you noticing any anxiety about leaving the old job? Do you think this new job will help you reach your goals? Consider how it will feel working there 6 months from now, imagine being there 1 year – then go further to 2 years and longer.
- The second part of this exercise is just to imagine yourself in the same position you’re at now. You didn’t take the new job and you’re just going about your business as normal. Maybe you’ve gotten pretty good at what you do. Think about how you’ll feel if you’re in the same position 6 months to 1 year from now. Is it fulfilling? Do you have any regrets about not changing positions? Maybe you’re perfectly happy and you can just disregard the opening at this new job.
As you can see this exercise gives you much more to work with. It takes your emotions and goals into account. It’s not just a list of pros and cons – life just doesn’t work that way. Sometimes you just have to try new things to find out what will make you happy. Visualization will allow you to try something new without making a drastic life change.
You can use this technique to make all sorts of decisions. Whether you’re deciding what to study at school or moving to a new area, visualizing can provide a fresh perspective. It might even help you in your relationships…
By considering the larger picture you’ll be able to make a more satisfying decision. Instead of looking back with regret and wondering what could have been, you can try something out and move forward with certainty.