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Difficult decisions can be easier

1 June 2023

Difficult decisions can be easier.

Agonising over career decisions takes an enormous emotional toll, and it is all too easy to get stuck in an evaluation loop where you try to make the optimal decision. The belief that important decisions should be carefully weighed and only made after extensive analysis and evaluation is common, but this approach often leads to overthinking and paralysis by analysis.

It doesn't have to be as difficult as that.

Provocative and surprising research suggests there is a better way - simply toss a coin.  Heads you make the decision to do what you are contemplating, tails you decide not to do it.

heads or tails
The surprising outcome is that this method of decision making results in people who are happier and more content with the changes they make than those who use the more conventional weighing of pros and cons.

One way the coin flip works is that it reveals our true preferences and priorities.  The act of flipping the coin forces us to become aware of our genuine hopes and aspirations.

Rationality has limitation when it comes to career which is a complex thing comprising lots of luck, unexpected opportunities, biases, and pure randomness.  The fact is that there is no optimal decision. This doesn't mean that you don't do due diligence, and that you don't do the work to understand yourself and what your values, goals, and aspirations are. Being informed supports your intuition and your intuition gets revealed through the coin toss.

Your action this fortnight is to use the coin toss method to make at least one decision.  This doesn't have to be about career, it might be a relationship/friendship decision, a health decision, a holiday decision, a new hair style, trying a new fashion, selling/buying a house, train for a marathon...  Just flip the coin and follow through on the decision.

As always, wishing you a flourishing career.


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