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How to Make a Difficult Decision: 30

Ideas to Help You Choose

By Lori Deschene

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live. ~Flora Whittemore
I have been running this website for almost two years. A few months back, I met a goal I set for
myself: I eliminated most of my other freelance work, and focused my energy on Tiny Buddha.
Since I dont require much money to liveand since my eBook has been selling regularlyI
was able to transition in the spring. As a consequence, I decreased my workload dramatically.
Now that I have more time, I realize that I need to discover a sense of purpose beyond writing
and editing, and not just through hobbies and fun. Essentially, I need to find new ways to
contribute to the world, regardless of the income it generates, because I crave a greater sense
of connection and engagementoutside the world of the web.

Last week, I received an offer to run a tween website, working part-time hours. My first paid
writing gig was for a tween magazine, back in 2006. This felt meaningful to me, not just
because I fulfilled the dream of seeing my byline in print, but because I understand how difficult
it is to be that age.
Many of my problems began in junior high, when I was chubby, overdeveloped, harassed, and
even abused by other kids. Because that time was so traumatic for me, I revel in the opportunity
to speak to girls who may be struggling to love themselves.
This leaves me with a tough decision to make: Do I listen to the instinct that tells me to try to
help young girls? Or do I listen to the instinct that tells me to stay unplugged when Im not
working on Tiny Buddha?
Do I do what comes naturally to mewhat Ive done through various sites these last five years
and keep analyzing, advising, and helping online? Or do I step outside the world of the written
word, onto a path Ive yet to define, and see where it may lead?
One seems to involve a lot more certainty. Ill definitely feel fulfilled writing for girls (and the extra
money couldnt hurt). But Ill likely also feel frustrated that Im continuing to spend so much time
alone, at my computer.
The other revolves around a million unknowns. Whats next if it isnt online? How do I pick one
of the many ideas I have, and how can I bring it to fruition? How do I know that what I choose
will work out, and if it doesnt, that I wont regret not going the other way?
The answer is I dont, cant, and wont. We can never know for sure when we make a decision
that its going to pan out as we hope. All we can do is follow our strongest calling, and then trust
that whatever the future holds, it will enrich our lives, one way or another.
Since Ive been struggling with career-related decisions recently, I turned to the Tiny Buddha
Facebookpage and asked the community, How do you make a difficult decision? I collected
some of the responses that resonated with me most strongly:
(Note: I changed I to you in these contributions and attributed these to the readers Facebook
1. Consider whether or not you will be able to look proudly into the mirror the next day. Marcia Jones

2. Reflect on past difficult decisions and how you made them. The problems dont have to
be similar for the method to work the same. -Gentry Harvey
3. Meditate and listen to your instincts. ~Stacey Chandler
4. Meditate on how it affects balance within your life. Then have the faith and will to carry
out by action. -Isaac Guest
5. Set aside time to give careful thought to the decision. The worst thing you can do is act in
haste. -Dana David
6. Ask yourself, Who will it affect and what does my heart tell me? -Phyllis McBride
7. Imagine having made the decision. If you get a feeling of relief, thats the way to go, even if
its coupled with sadness. -Emma Gilding
8. Ask yourself, What is the most pleasurable choice, and where is the most fun? David Heisler
9. Check with your internal compass. How will you feel if you make one decision? How will
you feel if you make the other? -Kyczy Hawk
10. Make mistakes and learn from them. -Sandra Leigh
11. Talk it through with friends. Then after you have gathered as much info as possible,
decide and act! -Charlene Wood
12. Make a patient effort and have confidence in yourself as decision maker. Whatever
choice you make is valid, as you can gain experience and wisdom through any experience,
preferred or not. -Meagan Le Dagger
13. Let go of fear. Know there is no right or wrong decision. Any decision is better than
indecision -Deidre Americo
14. Ask yourself three questions before diving into something new or daunting: Whats
the worst that can happen? How likely is that to happen? Can you deal with it? -Long Ho
15. Go with your first instinct. The minute you second guess yourself or doubt your choice,
then it goes all downhill from there. -Kelsey Walsh

16. Take a moment to think about the consequences of every course of action, and decide
which course will be best for everyone. -Daniel Roy
17. Try to see the situation from all angles. Also ask your elders for advice. They are always
great sources! Sometimes you need to walk away from the issue for a bit, and then come back
for a fresh look. -Lisa Marie Josey
18. Remember this quote: Your choices are half chance, so are everybody elses. Paulina Angelique
19. If you find that you have to talk yourself into something, it is usually a bad
decision. Good decisions usually feel right without much second-guessing. -Triana Avis
20. One method is to contemplate options and select the one that you feel a sense of
excitement for. -Katherine Melo Sipe
21. Stay in the tension as long as possible. If neither choice feels right, try to delay making
the decision. Sometimes a third option you hadnt thought of before becomes open. -Jody
22. Listen to your emotional instinct. If it feels good, authentically good, then go for it. If it
does not use caution and back away. -Dedric Carroll
23. Ask yourself two questions: Is this choice good for me? Is this choice good for my family?
Then listen to what your heart says. -Andrew J. Kelley
24. Make the small decisions with your head and the big ones with your heart. -Emily
25. Take a step back and try to stop thinking so much. -Liz Morton
26. Take two pieces of paper and write down your options on each. Put them in a hat, close
your eyes, and pick one. If you feel disappointed with the outcome, then you know that is the
wrong decision to make! -Dina Agnessi-Lorenzetti
27. Reflect on my past decisions. Good or bad, each teaches a lesson. To learn by your
mistakes is key, but dont forget your triumphs. They are just as important. -Mick Roman
28. Think about how you will feel when youre 70. First, it will put the difficult decision into
perspective (maybe its not as big a deal as you think it is) and secondly, it will help you make a
good decision for the long term, rather than just for instant gratification. -Andrew Gills

29. Have a good, deep, non-judgmental look at whats inside you, and journaling also helps.
-Indigo Perry
30. Align your actions with your life purpose and personal values, and then its much
easier to know the direction that is right for you. The prerequisite to this is actually knowing
and defining yourself. Gain awareness. Be true to who you really are. Follow the path of least
resistance. -Self Improvement Saga
What helps you make difficult decisions?
Photo by Mickey Aldridge