Making Hard Decisions

Growing up, the hardest decision that I had to make was whether I wanted to get that summer job or if I wanted to be a lazy slob watching TV on the couch.

Today, I have harder decisions to make. I’m a dad, a husband, a student, and an author. These roles have responsibilities that I have to fulfill. It is something which has to be done. I have little choice on the matter.

As a dad, I have to be there for my kids. I have to make hard decisions that will turn them into adequately adjusted adults. Decisions made about my relationship with my wife keeps me out of divorce court.

However, most of those decisions are not hard to make. They don’t take any effort on my part. Some decisions, those that cost me money or have ambiguous choices, are harder to make.

Moving down from my home town to Vancouver Island was one such decision. It was a big move that cost us a lot of money. It also put on hold any possibility of me buying another house. (House costs are average 250k up north, while a similar home on the island is 600k.) There were many possibilities on what to do. What wasn’t on the list was staying up North.

That falls under the category of keeping myself out of divorce court. My wife is an artist, always has been. Even the days when she said that she wasn’t. She wanted to go to art school. So that meant that we’d be moving. The hard decision was what city to move to.

Another hard choice was what I wanted to do after I got laid off from my day job. Go back to school, or get a laborer job making less than what I was before with longer hours and not seeing my family. I chose to go back to school. I was tempted to get a business degree. However, I chose to go to the creative writing route.

The decision was hard to make. It took me all weekend to make it, I then signed up on the last week before the cut-off ended. It was a mad dash to get my paperwork into the school.

So how did I make these hard decisions?

The first thing is to remove emotion from the equation. Emotions don’t help anything. They cloud your judgment, and it is a well-known fact that people making decisions based on emotions are always wrong.

For me, I take a piece of paper, and I write the decision on the top. ‘Go back to school for Creative Writing.’

I then split it in half for Pros and Cons. I give a numeric value to each pro and con on how big of an issue it may be. ‘Being off work’ was high at a nine, as well as ‘getting student loans.’ I added up both column, and some simple math later showed a number.

This allowed me to compare the different decisions on what I wanted to do.

It is, however, biased as you are rating your own decision. It will tell you what you already know and want. But it will put things into perspective for you. So you can try to see the whole picture.

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