I don’t have to tell you that life is full of hard choices. We both know it. At the start of the new year, many of us will focus on reflection. We’ll consider what we want, how to shape our lives, and we’ll encounter hard choices.

Change How You Think

There isn’t a magic formula for making hard choices easy, but changing how we think about hard choices can reveal a power you might not have known you possessed.

I’ve been thinking about had choices a lot too.

  • Our 16-year-old son, Malcolm, has been wrestling with whether to finish high school or get his GED and go to culinary school early.
  • I’ve been contemplating, do I want to continue living in a small mountain town, Durango, CO, or do I want to live in a big city.
  • My wife, Cheri, has been considering what career will serve her best in the next stage of our life.

All hard choices.

Recently, a TED Talk caught my attention. Philosopher, Ruth Chang, offered a talk all about making hard choices. She says when there is no clear “better” alternative between your options the decision is going to be hard. But, the presence of a hard choice can be a portal into your hidden power.

Hit reply, I’d like to hear from you. What hard choices are you facing?

Pro and Con Lists Don’t Work

When faced with a hard choice, we agonize because some aspects of each option are valuable to us. Chang would say that the options are on par. They matter, but one choice is not clearly better than the other.

Instead of flipping a coin or rolling the dice to allow a random chance decide for us we have an opportunity.

Hidden Power

Ruth Chang’s TED Talk reveals that we can use hard choices to define who we are. The reasons we use to justify our decisions determine who we are.

Don’t avoid difficult decisions or take the easy way out by doing what society, family, or culture expects without considering what kind of a person you are now and who you want to become.

  • Will Malcolm be the kind of person who goes to culinary school a year early?
  • Am I the kind of person who want to live in the city?
  • Is Cheri the kind of person who is a speech therapist, a celebrant, or yet another option?

Time will tell as we decide and create our reasons for our choices.

Who are you?

What do you stand for?

What won’t you stand for?

What kind of person are you today?

What kind of person will you be next year?

TED Talks to watch when you have a big decision to make.

  1. How to make choosing easier Sheena Iyengar studies how people choose (and what makes us think we’re good at it).
  2. How to make hard choices – Ruth Chang asks why some choices are so hard — and what that means for the human condition.

When to take a stand – and when to let it go – Ash Beckham approaches hard conversations from a place of compassion and empathy.

May your 2018 be joyful, prosperous, and filled with hard and interesting choices.