Do you have a tough time making a choice?
Worried that you’ll make the wrong one?
You’re not alone. This is common and to be expected. That said, it doesn’t have to be the norm.
You don’t have to drive yourself insane over the choices in your life.
For the longest time, I had trouble making decisions. I wasn’t sure how to move forward.
Time and time again, I ended up drowning myself with information. I searched for certainty, but never seemed to find it.
Eventually, I uncovered three things that made decision-making easier.
The Three Pillars
As I look at how I make decisions, three pillars emerge:
- Opportunity. What is in front of me? It does me no good to fantasize about something that is not right here, right now. I have to work with the things life presents.
- Ability. What am I capable of doing, or learning? When an opportunity presents itself, I have to ask: Can I take action on this?
- Energy. What resonates? It’s not just about opportunity and ability. What leads to an enjoyable life is doing what makes me come alive.
These three things help me filter out what is not relevant. They help me live in the present moment, and to work with what’s in front of me.
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Opportunity is simply what life is bringing you.
What’s coming to you?
What doors are open?
Back in 2009, I felt drawn to write, but I didn’t know where to start. I had read different websites and signed up for a bunch of newsletters, but nothing stood out. Until one day, I received an invitation to a blogging course. It sparked something within me.
That’s where my current path began.
An opportunity may be as simple as a book, an invitation to a meet-up, or a job that seems completely ordinary.
I have no idea where each opportunity may lead, which is why I do my best not to judge what comes my way.
I simply pay attention and avoid getting stuck in my head.
What tends to happen is that we have an idea of how life should be, so we miss how life is.
Life may bring you something, but do you have the ability to act on it?
If you have two business ideas, or two passions, but one requires something that you don’t have, you’re left with a simple choice.
In the blogging example above, the course could’ve been too expensive. That would’ve eliminated my ability to act on it, assuming that I didn’t see other way to pay for it.
I don’t try to force opportunities. If they don’t resonate, I won’t act on them. I am not afraid of missing out on anything, because life seems to bring me what I need. And what I need is not always what I want.
Throughout this process, you have to be wary of talking yourself out of taking action. You may bump into your inner critic.
I’ve found it helpful to focus on taking one step at a time. I don’t obsess over where I’m going. I’m simply doing what I can with what I have.
With all that said, opportunity and ability do not determine what I act on, they merely set the stage.
My body responds to life.
There may be opportunity and ability, but if my body doesn’t resonate, I do not move.
What I mean is that something in my body lights up when the right opportunity presents itself. This lighting up is not always obvious. Sometimes it’s a gentle pull towards something.
With the blogging course, there was something within me that said yes. Opportunity, ability, and energy all aligned. I still had to deal with fear and doubt, but I kept taking tiny steps, anyway.
Look at the choice in front of you and go through the three pillars.
More often than not, there is only one choice. There only seem to be two choices because you’re trying to force something, and it may not yet be the right time.
Energy also shows me when it’s time to move on. For a long time, I was a professional poker player, until the energy started disappearing. Gradually, playing poker began feeling lifeless. I knew I had to move on.
At first, I clung to poker, because it was familiar. But I’ve since discovered that when one opportunity closes, another one opens.
So how do you choose between two passions or ideas?
You look at opportunity, ability, and energy.
What is available?
What can you do or learn?
What makes you come alive?
And remember, you cannot make the perfect choice. Life is lived with imperfect information, similar to poker. All you can do is the best with the information at hand.
Plus, we have no idea what will lead to what, so why worry about it?
Relax, enjoy this dance we call life.
Experiment, see what happens, adjust, and keep going.
Have a splendid day,
P.S. Would you like to learn more about following your inner guidance system? Then I invite you to check out my popular book Follow Your Heart: 21 Days to a Happier, More Fulfilling Life. (Amazon affiliate link. I receive a small share of any purchase you make at no cost to you. Thank you in advance!)
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Penny Carlson says
Great article, Henri! You have a lot of practical wisdom to share. Keep it coming!
Thanks! Appreciate it 🙂
Hi Henri, yes, I was nodding as I read this article going yes, yes and yep. Thank You for offering Your lovely calm encouragement. Uplifting.
Good stuff. Thank you for reading!
Finding this in my inbox today has been a real blessing. I’ve been struggling for a month with two huge, necessary decisions at the same time for work and location vs. following my dreams. I’ve been trying to look at the situation from all different angles, basically flooded myself with information, and still couldn’t choose. Seeing my options by your 3 pillars has helped me clarify things enough to see the obvious choice in front of me right now might end up better preparing me to follow my dreams. Better yet, that choice is not without its own (different) energy, which I couldn’t see before 🙂 Thank you!
That’s Awesome, Meg. Glad I could help, and thanks for taking the time to comment!
Daniel Sieff says
‘What tends to happen is that we have an idea of how life should be, so we miss how life is.’
Really love this. Thanks.
Thank you, Daniel!
Fantastic article. I love how you break things down to simple, readable pieces. Really enjoyed reading this. It gave me some fresh perspective and affirmed where I currently am in the decision making process. Thank you : )
So happy to hear that you enjoyed the article, Christina 🙂
Amy G says
Thank you Henri. I may not always comment, but I love reading your articles. This one has kind of given me the last piece in my puzzle. Thanks again
Glad to hear it, Amy. Thanks for taking the time to comment!