Life is, and will always be, a challenging platform. We constantly challenge ourselves, others constantly challenge us and events that take place in life constantly challenge our needs and wants. That’s precisely why we need to make our own decisions without depending on other people, at least not too much.
It’s probably safe to say that I’ve learned the hard way that letting others decide who you want to be or what you need does little to solve your dilemma. On the contrary, it adds salt to the wound. It’s only natural for us to think about what others might think of our decisions. But we need to remember that perceptions of others remain perceptions. Our decisions, on the other hand, determine the path we’ll take for the rest of our lives. The math is pretty simple, isn’t it?
Why let others influence your decision when you’ll be the only one facing the consequences at the end of the day?
Here are some of the ways I believe would help us make our own decisions.
1. Be brave enough to be yourself
This, I feel, should be the ultimate approach. Most of the time we shy away from doing what we want because we’re afraid of what others might think. In translation, we pretend to be someone we’re not. In order to make the decision we would never regret making, we need to embrace who we are. Screw what others might think. If they don’t like us for being real, than those people are probably not worth being in our lives. Real friends would be there regardless of who you are. On that note, you may want to read my post on friendship.
When you accept who you are, you will automatically know what is best for you. That brings you closer to your goal. And guess what? You’ll find that making your own decision becomes that much easier. Imagine if you let others shape who you are, every single thing that you do will require the approval of those around you. Trust me. People often talk about how wrong your actions are but they seldom care about how good or bad the outcome is. It’s your life, not theirs. Why would they?
2. Be objective
When you’re clear on what you need, you’ll have less trouble making a decision, be it about your career, your love life or even something simple like choosing a diet program. I sort of recall reading from a source that listing the pros and cons of an option helps in decision-making. Perhaps that would be a good move. Being technical, in a way, is being objective. Think like a researcher. Treat yourself like a subject in an experiment.
3. Think of the consequences, not the anticipated perceptions
Instead of worrying about what others might think, wouldn’t it be better to consider what your experiences will be like if you make a certain decision? For instance, if you decide to quit a high-paying job for a lower-paying one, you could better enjoy life. Why? There could be all sorts of reasons. Maybe the lower-paying job is what you love to do, or the people there are much better. But others might say that without a high salary, you’ll suffer in paying the bills and life will suck. We probably seldom realize this but we tend to think that others would judge our decisions and present those negative outcomes. So we go against our will and choose the other alternative. Not because of the reasons others would highlight but because we want to avoid the scenario where they bombard us with that reasons. See the difference? At the end of the day, you’ll still be miserable because choosing the high-paying job, as much as it pays your bills, means that you’re turning your back on your passion. How in the world can you be happy?
4. Embrace a certain dosage of anger
This sounds pretty bizarre but perhaps it’s worth a try. OK. Let’s just burst the bubble. This last approach is the most experimental of all but based on my own experiences, a certain degree of anger or frustration, when geared towards the right direction, gives us courage. Courage to disregard pointless perceptions of others. Courage to be decisive, pick an option and brave the choice, whether or not it turns out well. But again, I don’t really encourage this method.
Having said all of that, we still need to take into account opinions of others. Real friends and close buddies play a part in our decision-making process. Once you know how to control the level of external influence, those opinions can help you big time. But don’t get too carried away by others. If you have that under control, things should turn out better.