I want to talk about a strategy that I use when I need to make a decision and see how it resonates with you all.
We make decisions all the time. We get up and we decide whether we get out of bed at that time or not. We decide whether we want to interact with people any given day. We decide who will be our friends and who we will minimize or maximize interactions with. We decide whether to take a trip or stay home. And so on. You get the idea.
Let’s say I am trying to decide whether I want to study abroad (assume I have the money to do that via a scholarship, so money is not a big issue). It will require me to change my whole life style. It will force me to stay away from family. There are many unknowns. These could force me to stay where I am. It is scary after all. It challenges my safety. But there is one thing that suppresses all and will make me decide to go: I envision my life some time after the fact. In the scenario here, I look back at my life 20 years later. Am I asking ‘What if?’. In other words, I ask myself the question: ‘Can I possibly regret it 20 years later if I decide to stay?’. If my answer is ‘Yes, I possibly can’, then I go with the other option, in this case, studying abroad.
And that is a real-life scenario. That is how I decided to move to the US for PhD as a very family-oriented person.
This applies to smaller decisions too. If I might have brunch with a friend and I am deciding whether to go or stay home, I think about several hours after the brunch: Will I possibly regret not going? If yes, then I go. I think of a few hours after the brunch and I see myself happier (because brunches with people generally make me happier). This strengthens my decision. Then, I get up and go.
Or I am trying to decide whether I want to study now. I try to think of a few hours later and visualize myself: Am I happier then? I usually am, well, because I will have studied and be free of the responsibility. That allows me to be on track most of the time.
Do you use a similar strategy? If not, what else do you use? Would you think of using it if you are not already? Let’s talk about this strategy.