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How to Make a Difficult Decision: 30 Ideas to Help You Choose

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“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 don’t require much money to live—and since my eBook has been selling regularly—I 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 engagement—outside 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 I’m not working on Tiny Buddha?

Do I do what comes naturally to me—what I’ve 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 I’ve yet to define, and see where it may lead?

One seems to involve a lot more certainty. I’ll definitely feel fulfilled writing for girls (and the extra money couldn’t hurt). But I’ll likely also feel frustrated that I’m continuing to spend so much time alone, at my computer.

The other revolves around a million unknowns. What’s next if it isn’t 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 doesn’t, that I won’t regret not going the other way?

The answer is I don’t, can’t, and won’t. We can never know for sure when we make a decision that it’s 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 I’ve been struggling with career-related decisions recently, I turned to the Tiny Buddha Facebook page 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 names.)

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 don’t 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 Molhusen

7. Imagine having made the decision. If you get a feeling of relief, that’s the way to go, even if it’s 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: What’s 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 else’s.” -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 hadn’t thought of before becomes open. -Jody Bower

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 Keith

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 don’t forget your triumphs. They are just as important. -Mick Roman

28. Think about how you will feel when you’re 70. First, it will put the difficult decision into perspective (maybe it’s 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 what’s inside you, and journaling also helps. -Indigo Perry

30. Align your actions with your life purpose and personal values, and then it’s 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 

Avatar of Lori Deschene

About Lori Deschene

Tiny Buddha Founder Lori Deschene is the author of the Tiny Wisdom eBook seriesTiny Buddha's Guide to Loving Yourself, and Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life's Hard Questions. She's also co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an eCourse that helps you change your life. For inspiring posts and wisdom quotes, follow on Twitter & Facebook.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • http://unclutteredsoul.com cary

    Hi Lori, the world needs more people with career-related decisions like yours. Do you help girls who may be struggling, or do you help readers like me who may be struggling? With such compassion in your heart, it’s not surprising that the answers are seeking you, perhaps more than you seek them. You speak of feeling frustrated spending so much time alone at your computer. Someone like me, still trying to understand what a blog actually is, spends a lot of alone time at the computer.  209,000 and counting followers say that when you’re at your computer you’re never alone. I would bet that anything you do you’ll do well and people will benefit. So how would I make a difficult decision? I don’t know. Shake the 8-ball, toss a coin, read the tea leaves? I can’t decide. Seriously, my simple mind would follow your words like “purpose, connection, engagement, meaningful, revel, opportunity, fruition and trust that whatever the future holds, it will enrich our lives, one way or the other”.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Cary,

    Thanks so much for the kind words. I thought about this as I was writing this yesterday–this is a really good problem to have! I feel grateful that I have these opportunities now, and that the options in front of me are exciting and meaningful. I know for my personal well-being and sense of balance, finding some work that takes me away from my computer would be a good thing, but I do so enjoy writing and engaging online.

    I visited your blog. I like your tagline. =) It looks like you have a great start to this whole blogging thing!

    Lori

  • Kim

    Thank you Lori.  I’m struggling with a decision and honestly can’t figure out how I can ever make it and feel 100 percent Ok right now…but I know that I will.
    I really enjoy your blog and it speaks to me on many different levels daily

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5319331 Zalfa Hami

    Wow. Thanks for this article. I have beem struggling for months now to make a decision on whether I should move overseas or not and going through those ideas really helped me clarify what I really want in a matter of minutes. I love this site. Thanks for sharing this with the world.

  • Dirk

    Hi Lori,
    did you make a decision? – with your comment about the yoga retreats sounds like a decision. How do you have time to do all you do?

    One idea for you. What if you limit your involvement to the tween website so that you do the parts that really matter to you and limit your alone computer time? I often find that if you can create really great professional relationships by being really up front with prospective clients. Why not ask for exactly what would work perfectly for you?

    dirk

  • Deb

    Hi Lori,

    “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 I’m not working on Tiny Buddha?” 

    Does this have to be an either/or decision – I mean, is it possible to do both with some outside help? 

    I have been reading your blog for 9 months now and it continues to inspire me and my 16 year old daughter every day! 

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks for commenting, Deb. Since I would be running the ‘tween website, it would require at least 15 hours/week. I’m already on my computer 20-25 hours/week for Tiny Buddha, and what I’ve been grappling with is whether or not I’d like to fill the rest of my schedule with work outside, with people. It’s possible I could do both…I have been considering that option!

    I’m so glad to hear that Tiny Buddha has inspired you and your daughter. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Dirk,

    I haven’t actually made my decision yet. I’m exploring the possibilities to see what else I might want to do going forward, and I may find a way to do both the other site and other work. I did actually ask for what would work for me (which reduced the hours from 20 to 12-15). I’m just weighing whether or not I really want that much more time working online.

    Thank you for your help and support!

    Lori

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m glad the site helps you, Kim! 

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You are most welcome, Zalfa! I thought there were tons of great ideas here (from the Facebook page). Tiny Buddha readers never cease to amaze me.

  • Peggy Lucas

    This is a wonderful, honest, inspirational post. Thank you.

  • Laura

    Hi Lori,
    Tiny Buddha is in my top three resources that have improved my life for over 12 months.

    I’m sensing that rather than running a ‘tween website, perhaps that time spent at the computer alone, could be used to help young girls in person. 

    Our pain is usually a potent source of help for others and although I don’t know you, I’m pretty sure the “in-person” Lori would be a very powerful, living example for young girls and the issues you experienced at their age.

    Light and love to you wherever your path takes you!

  • http://www.sothankfulproject.blogspot.com Julia

    I LOVE all of these little advices! I agree with most of them and try to use them too, but it’s always great to be reminded, especially when you are supposed to make an important decision! Thanks!

  • Dave

    Thank you for this collection of wisdom regarding decision making. I always like these types of posts that you put out there.

    Seeing as both choices result in helping people, which of these (right now in the present moment), do you hold closer to your heart?

    Whichever one you choose you should not feel any abandonment to the other. When the time comes that you wish focus your energy on something else I believe that you should go for it, because that energy will be spent working toward something as opposed to deciding what to work on.

  • http://ponder-the-pre.posterous.com Kate Britt

    Wow, Lori, this post is very full of potential changes and decisions for you! Please post and tell us your decision about the ‘tween website when you make it. I’m very interested.

    I guess I missed your FB question, so I’ll post my 2 bits here.

    When I’m trying to decide between 2 or more things/paths/whatever, having to compare what each would look like if I chose it, I have this really great “decision matrix” process my brother taught me about 30 years ago. It’s a defined, step-by-step process, long but simple to go through. First, it  makes me think about ALL the factors involved in the decision. Then it helps me weight each factor mathematically. That sounds rather mechanical, but it isn’t. The process forces me to go deep to find every single influence on the decision, and usually a lot comes up that I hadn’t yet considered. What’s magical about the matrix process is that it can work with two people as well…. as in when my partner and I are trying to decide something together. The process lets us each contribute all our personal factors, then the numerical weighting ends up combining to see what the “group” decision looks like. The other magical thing is that every decision I’ve made this way has turned out to be absolutely correct, looking back. (Maybe I should write up this matrix process some day and post it online!)

    When I’m deciding about just one thing/direction/etc, quite often I pull out my I Ching workbook. I always get feedback that’s insightfully helpful and spot on for the situation. It, too, helps me clarify my thoughts and often points out things I hadn’t yet addressed in my decision-making.

    And finally, the thing that helps me most with decisions is that I always have a kind of overriding life affirmation, one that I refer back to for all decisions. It’s kind of my main rule of life. This “rule” has changed from time to time over the years, but I always have one on the go because it helps me run my life so well. Currently (since I retired 3 years ago) it’s “Simplicity” (a.k.a. KISS: “keep it simple, stupid!” :). So when I’m making a decision, the first question I ask myself is, “Will this help simplify my life, or will it do the opposite?” The decision, then, often becomes quite clear, or at least simplified (LOL). Recently I made a huge decision to buy a boat with my partner, and that did not simplify my life (financially, at least). In a way, I went against my ruling affirmation….. but on the other hand, having the boat has simplified ALL decisions about what to do for holidays, for relaxation time, and for peacefulness. (When I’m on the water, I feel more at peace than anyplace else.)

    Good luck with your decision making! Hope you find a yoga partner and a retreat co-presenter. Wish I could help out, but we just live too far apart, you and I.

  • http://www.ourlittlesins.com Kate Sins

    I’m with number 26 but I flip a coin. If I don’t like the outcome then it’s the wrong one. But I think your decision is more complex than a straight either/or. 

    I’d love to be the one who has the perfect answer for you. Your website never fails to inspire me to be a better person. Tweens would be so much better off, whether in person or online for having you connect with them. But perhaps in person is the way to go? Speaking to large groups? 

    Best wishes for your decision making. 

  • Ed 4rchi

    Hi Lori
    Thank to your article. Am a very indecisive person everytime I make my decision it’s always been very tough for me. It takes a while before I made one. And when I do I always failed ended up hurting myself just to please others. I always put others first before myself. I thought that way I could not hurt anybody’s feelings.
    And I just learned the way I do my decision that falls me under 28 item. Think about how will I feel when I’m 70.
    Long way to go….

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks so much, Laura. I think this would be a wonderful direction to take. A huge part of me feels like the ‘tween website is not the right next step. Writing this blog post, reading the community’s suggestions, and reading advice in the comments, yours included, have been very helpful to me–so thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I really liked that suggestion, too. Flashing forward to the end of our lives makes it a lot easier to see what matters most. I’m glad this article helped you. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks so much, Kate. It was so nice to read your wonderful compliment this morning. I think speaking to large groups sounds like a fantastic idea. It’s funny–I’ve actually been somewhat terrified of public speaking. But recently, I spoke at the Wanderlust Yoga & Music Festival, and once I got in front of the group, all the fears melted into pure bliss. It was such a wonderful feeling to speak from my heart and see that it actually made a difference. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. It helped!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m fascinated by this matrix process! (And I would love to read about it…) It sounds like you have some pretty solid approaches for making major decisions. I love what you wrote about having an overriding life affirmation. That seems like a pretty meaningful and simple way to ascertain what’s best for you. When I really think about it, I know I want to do something offline..I think I vacillate mostly because of fear. However, shining a spotlight on that makes it a lot easier to push through it!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome, Dave! I always enjoy getting varied perspectives from the community. It never ceases to amaze me how insightful the responses are. I feel like my heart wants to balance my web writing with real-life engagement. This whole process has really helped me clarify that. Thanks so much for your help!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    That’s great, Julia! I’m glad you found this post useful. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You are most welcome. Thank you for being here. =)

  • http://twitter.com/emmabr00ke emma brooke

    Hi Lori,

    I’m glad you liked my way of making decisions (feeling a sense of relief). I’ve had to make a few hard decisions over the past 12 months that have included a great deal of loss but that feeling of relief was the thing that always told me which way to go.

    However you make it and whatever decision you take, it will always be the right one. You will ultimately get to where you need to be, then wonder how it took you so long to find it!

    Good luck and thanks for continuing to share so much of yourself with us.

    Emma

  • linnaeab

    Hi Lori,

    In making a career decision that involved moving from the US to Asia, alone, two considerations arose. First, my heart was singing. I didn’t even have to weigh the pros and cons (for a research oriented MBA that was a really out of character!)

    The second was a fear. I couldn’t even name or identify the fear. It was around, can I really do this job? It is a 3 jump promotion, Am I ready? So I thought: what is the worst that could happen? The answer: I wouldn’t do well, and I would lose my job, in Asia. Shame. Can’t return to the home base. Then I felt: That’s ok. I could travel to China where there may be opportunities. I don’t need to stay with this company Maybe this is even a jumping off point to work in China! That would be really interesting (in 1981 before China took off as an economic powerhouse.)

    From then on, whenever major career decisions arose, it was easy: Was my heart singing, and what is the worst that could happen?

    My heart was accurate: when a another job came up, it felt queasy. About a year later I learned that the product never got off the ground. Over a different job offer, it felt uneasy, I learned that the person in charge was underhanded.

     
    As for the second question … the worst that could happen never did.

    Each of us has a personal way to know what is right for us.
    You know yours, Lori.
    Trust yourself.

    all my love,
    linnaea

  • http://ponder-the-pre.posterous.com Kate Britt

    One thing you didn’t mention in your considerations is the physical aspect of your decision. At one point a few years ago, I had to make the difficult decision to cut back on my 5-6 hours/day online work simply because my body had begun to suffer from it (back, wrists, etc.; you know the drill). Something to think about?

    Lori, on your prompt, I’ve just shared my matrix decision-maker process here: http://ponder-the-pre.posterous.com/how-to-make-a-difficult-decision-decision-mat. Hope it benefits you and others who are reading here.

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  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks Emma. When I looked quickly, I didn’t realize that was your response since you’re not listed as Emma Brooke! Thank you for sharing your perspective. I love being able to gather community wisdom in this way. 

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks so much, linnaea. You’ve had such amazing experiences! I think the “what’s the worst that could happen” question is phenomenal. It really helps in pushing through the fear. This post and the comments have helped me tremendously in deciding what’s right for me.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Wow thanks so much, Kate! How wonderful that you wrote that all out. I like that the first step is a cup of tea or coffee. Everything seems less intimidating with a nice warm beverage. =)

  • http://www.jennabuesser.com Jenna

    Unfortunately, I have yet to master the art of decision-making. I’m always so indecisive and now it seems to have reached its peak. I’ve been out of college over a year now and yet I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I have two part time jobs and do freelance work, and I still have no clue what to do next. It’s been a major stress in my day-to-day life. I know I can “do whatever I want”, but it’s that fact that almost makes it even more difficult. There are TOO many choices…..it’s so overwhelming and I just feel so lost.

    Anyway, enough about my struggles. When I do have a rare moment of efficient decision-making, it actually involves the least amount of thought. It sounds silly and counter-intuitive, but as a person who is constantly “in their head” and worrying, intense thinking just makes it worse. The only thing that seems to work for me is to distract myself…completely remove myself from the decision and focus on something else. Then return a little later and try to “connect” with my gut.

    I wish I had more advice for you, but I wish you the best of luck. I’m sure whatever you decide, it will be the right decision :)  And thank you for creating such a great resource and community here. It’s been a rough year but Tiny Buddha always gives me a moment of calm and happiness.

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  • Bking

    Lori- Go get Bikram training there in LA. I have been doing it for six months here in Florida and it absolutely revolutionized my 57 year old life. I am feeling like a teenager physically and truly am on a new kind of spirtual path from it.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    That’s definitely something I might consider. I used to take Bikram Yoga, before I moved to LA, and I absolutely loved it. I have been doing more Vinyasa lately, but I miss the heated environment. I always felt so rejuvenated after a class. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I know what you mean Jenna. I think having more options can make it much more difficult to choose. I felt somewhat paralyzed after I graduated from college. I had no clear path and no idea where to begin. It wasn’t until my mid-20s that I felt even a slight pull.

    Thanks for the luck. I am a lot like you–frequently in my head. Tuning into my instincts has helped immensely. I’m still not entirely sure what I’m going to do next, but I know it won’t be another website.

    I’m glad to hear Tiny Buddha has been helpful to you. =)

  • Lv2terp

    These are GREAT tips!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for an awesome resourse that will be helpful in all aspects of life!!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m glad you found the post helpful! =)

  • http://www.table-casino-games.com/ ibyang Online Casinos

    hello,
    there is always a point in a person’s life that he will have to make a major decision that will create a big impact in his life. Thank you for sharing these advices that are certainly a valuable help to anyone who is in a dilemma on what to choose because they are afraid of the consequences.

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  • Gentry Harvey

    It is very meaningful to me that you would include my quote in your blog. Thank you for considering what I had to say. I have been searching for answers myself and seeing this has opened up a world of possibilities that I had not yet considered as closely as I see now that I should. Keep up the excellent work on this blog. It’s a constant source of inspiration and guidance for me!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thank you Gentry–for sharing your wisdom with the community and for your kind words!

  • http://www.jewelocean.com/ draniqa

    These ideas have proved to be very helpful for me and helped me a lot to solve my problem. Thank you for these tips.

  • http://www.jewelocean.com/ draniqa

    These ideas have proved to be very helpful for me and helped me a lot to solve my problem. Thank you for these tips.

  • http://www.jewelocean.com/ draniqa

    These ideas have proved to be very helpful for me and helped me a lot to solve my problem. Thank you for these tips.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. =)

  • http://twitter.com/AlleyKat_ Alejandra Meza

    Hi Lori,

    I love Tiny Buddha, thanks for sharing this amazing website with the community.

    Right now I’m having a hard time putting my decision into action. I fear for what it is to come, yet I’m also excited for what it is to come… It’s hard to explain. I want to go back to my comfort zone so bad… that I don’t know if I should fight it anymore.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You are most welcome. I know how scary it can be to leave your comfort zone–I’ve been there many times before. I’m glad this has been helpful to you!

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  • Murt

    Hi Lori,
    Thanks for triggering these stimulating and insightful pieces of advice on how to make difficult decision. What it shows is that we’re all humans and are confronted at times with similar problems. I am writing from Africa. As I write, I am also struggling with making a difficult decision. So I just came online to find tips that can help through. Then I stumbled on your website. It’s amazing. My problem is that I got a job offer to move to London. What made me apply for the job I don’t know because I am enjoying my current job that takes me to so many places around the globe and makes me meet with so many wonderful people. Howver, my friends are so happy for me that I got this job in London. But I’m at bit scared. I found myself in Linnaeab’s shoe, fearful of ‘the worst that could happen’, i.e. what if after a six month probation, I lose my job. I guess this is my biggest fear.

    I guess what makes making a difficult decision difficult is that both decisions are most often very good; nonetheless, we can either decide to stay in our comfort zone or take the plunge to explore the unknown which can be sometimes exciting and other times unpleasant.

    I must say reading the comments has helped me a lot.And thanks to Kate Brit for sharing the decision-making matrix.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Murt! I really enjoyed compiling this post. Everyone offered such wonderful insight. I’m sure that’s a tough decision–to leave a great situation for another that could also be satisfying. I’m glad this helped make your decision a little easier!

  • Reed2242

    Hi Lori,

    I have just found your site today.  First off I really like it, and I congratulate you for all your success and for putting your gift to such a good use in helping others.  You have helped me reach a decision in my life, and I cannot express how thankful I am too you.  Well I wish you the best of luck and when I succeed I am going to remember you and this website.

    Sincerely,
    Reed

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks so much Reed…and welcome to Tiny Buddha! I’m so glad you’ve found the posts helpful. I’m sending you good thoughts and positive energy as you make this new decision!

  • Leah

    I came across this in discernment of big choice between making my career happen first or my marriage.  Thank you for compiling these different thoughts, they are well-rounded.  Keep writing!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Leah. I’m sending good thoughts your way as you make this big decision in your life!

  • jane

    Hi,
    I have been planning and trying to defer a difficult decision about my career..and though it sounds weird when I say it..that I googled and found this site and it has helped me make the decision..I love this post and million thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. I’m glad it helped!

  • Kailash_asrani@ymail.com

    Really I will apply it

  • Lexirowland

    Hey Lori
    I am recently facing sch a hard decision and its bringing me so mmuch stress tiny buddha has helped believe me so I give you my full respect
    BEST Wishes^-^

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m si glad the site has helped you! Best wishes to you as well. =)

  • Laura M

    Hi Lori, Google has brought me here, and I need sage. I feel like I need as much advice as possible.
    I’m 19 and living in Puerto Rico. I recently got an outstanding job offer in London, and a decision on whether or not to move to the UK has to be made as quickly as it can. I’d be leaving without my family, friends, boyfriend of 1 year, pets, and most of my possessions. I’d also probably lose about a year of university courses when I make transfer, but the job pays in British pounds and offers more than my father makes, with some great benefits tossed in. I’m really young and it seems like just picking up and leaving would be a really selfish move, but I’m not convinced I’m ready to pass something like this up.

  • Breanna

    Im currently trying to make a big decision. Folklorico or Cosmotology. Ive been in Folklorico for a while now this is my 3rd year. Im in highschool. We just got cosmo this year. I researched and found out cosmo will help me in what I want to do with my life which is a professional makup artist. I would love to do makeup for fashion shows and transform people into monsters. In cosmo I will learn about the hair and face. In folklorico its fun and I love it we perform and if i stay in it I will get my letterman. I was thinking of asking my teacher if I can learn the dances from others and I can perform with then. I dont think he will let me perform with them though. In folklorico we also have banquets(?) And I think we were going to be on this tv show. I cant make this decision alone…part of me is saying stay in folklorico and the other is saying cosmo.

  • David Steinacker

    Hi Lori,
    love your site and loved this piece of writing. There are some really great points which I have recently implemented myself. I love how it creates an innate positive feeling about the future. This is similar to what I am writing about in my blog – how every decision in life can turn out to be the ‘right’ one depending on the attitude with which we approach the decision and consequences. Loved your piece and check out my blog http://personalfuture.blogspot.ie/

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks so much David! And thanks for the link. I will check it out. =)

  • Sue M

    Thank you for this comment …. Even a year later it is a help to someone else .

  • marek

    Nice post. I went through your post while writing The art of making right decisions. Very thoughtful. Thank you for it!

  • knk

    Hi Lori,

    I am 24 year girl from Mumbai, India. My parents has chosen a boy for me to whom they wanted me to get married but i am really not ready for the marriage and the reason behind it is my past . I had a very serious break up with whom me i loved.
    it is very difficult for me to give any other man place in my heart. It’s been 4 years of our break up but still i am emotionally involved in him though he is not in my life.
    I don’t know what to do. The man chosen by my family is good in all case not a single space of doubt is there to reject him but i cannot accept t him.
    what should i do? should i reject him and wait for the love to be blossomed in my life or accept him though I’ll not be happy by my decision but this is what my family wants me to do.
    please reply fast as I’ll have to take decision tin coming 1-2 days

  • Wanting to help

    I’m not Lori, but I am Pakistani so I get the whole arrange marriage thing. What I would do in your situation honestly … Not marry someone I am not head over heels in love with. You are honestly far too young to even consider it right now. I think everyone should just enjoy their twenties, find themselves, before settling down and having kids and all because after that you’re life is not your own and you have to share it. You have responsibilities, you cannot just get a ticket and backpack through Europe for example :). Wait. You will find the love of your life. My parents had an early arranged marriage and I wish they just had never gotten married on the other hand my mamoo(uncle) had a love marriage ,one of the happiest people I know. Marriage is not about suitability and looking good on paper. It’s about finding someone to share your entire life with. To be utterly selfless with, and make a life together.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi knk,

    I can understand why this is a tough decision, both because you’re young and because you’re not in love with this man your family has chosen for you. I don’t feel able to tell you what you should do, because there really is no “right” or “wrong” answer, but I do know that I personally couldn’t be happy marrying someone I don’t love. The question is: Can you?

    I hope you’re able to make the decision you’ll feel happiest and most at peace with it!

    Lori

  • John

    Robert Frost (1874–1963). Mountain Interval. 1920. 1. The Road Not Taken TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,And sorry I could not travel bothAnd be one traveler, long I stoodAnd looked down one as far as I couldTo where it bent in the undergrowth; 5 Then took the other, as just as fair,And having perhaps the better claim,Because it was grassy and wanted wear;Though as for that the passing thereHad worn them really about the same, 10 And both that morning equally layIn leaves no step had trodden black.Oh, I kept the first for another day!Yet knowing how way leads on to way,I doubted if I should ever come back. 15 I shall be telling this with a sighSomewhere ages and ages hence:Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference. 20

  • rfer

    NICE

  • opindermultani

    Thats very amazing website, Life about taking right Decision on right time.

    opindermultani.blogspot.com/

  • Ty

    The most helpful article I’ve ever read. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re welcome. =)

  • Sydney

    Dear Laura,

    This is brilliant. So happy to have stumbled upon this fabulous thought-provoking website.

    I’m having trouble deciding whether I should transfer colleges next year. I have been going to the same college for two years, but I have been drawn to this other college to finish out my junior and senior year for my bachelor’s degree.

    The main issue I’m having is that the college isn’t bad here, I just really dislike the location. Many other people have felt the same way.

    It seems terrifying at the moment. I have been dwelling on it since Spring of my freshman year. And now that the time has come to decide whether I want to go there for my junior year, I’m scared. I know I want it, but I’m not sure if I need it. I’ve seen many people transfer from my college in the same position as me, but I know that the risks are high here.

    The deposit is due this Friday to keep my apartment here. If I don’t pay it, the answer will be easy.

    Unsure what to think right now.

    Sincerely,
    Sydney

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m glad this was helpful to you Sydney. I can understand why that would be a tough decision. I would love to know what you decide once you make your choice!

  • Lindsey

    Lori,

    This has been so helpful to me in making a decision between something that is safe, warm and familiar, or something that is unknown, scary but potentially fabulous. The biggest thing I’ve taken away is that there is no right or wrong here, and that there is nothing wrong with choosing a safe route if it will give you inner peace.

  • s.evers87@hotmail.com

    Hi Lori, Im going threw a bit of a hard time at the moment and finding it hard to make decisions, myself and my partner recently split up due to a controlling…jealous relationship which led to arguments everyday, now it esculated on both of our behalfs……i was very upset about it but am starting to get myself together now..apart from that i am also losing my home and a job i am doing really well in due to a visa complication…we had applied for me to go onto his visa so we cud be together bt however that has been cancelled and i have 28 days to leave…so i have had the stress of where i am going to go now as my family are all here too, anyway in my time of depression i joined back up with fb and got chatting to all my old friends who i havnt talked to in nearly a year and an ex from back home who has perked me up by reminding me of the fun happy person i used to be which im grateful for because i had forgotten who i was, from chatting alot to him and my friends back home i have started to feel better and a bit more positive…however now my ex from recently has been leaving me voicemails…sounding really upset about the way hes treated me and wanting another chance…even saying that he will leave with me when my times up and we can start again somewhere else because i still have feelings for him im finding it very hard to make a decision….i am a person who finds it hard to make decisions…i stress and worry alot and right now my head is a total mess…i would like some advice so i can get a different perspective…sometimes you know what your family would say but you would like a bit of advice from somebody who doesnt know you, i am at a crossroads now about what to do with my life…and also feeling guilty because i have talked to my friends back at home and an ex boyfriend….i feel like i have betrayed him as we have only been apart for about two weeks…should i feel guilty?..im nt sure, my thoughts and feelings are eating me up, would appreciate any advice,
    kind reguards,
    suzanne

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Suzanne,

    I’m so sorry to hear about what you’ve been going through. From what you wrote, it seems like you know this relationship wasn’t good for you, since he was jealous and controlling and you were arguing a lot. From an outside perspective, it seems you’ve done nothing to feel guilty about, connecting with friends and ex-boyfriend, especially since you are no longer in that other relationship. Perhaps that’s a question you need to ask yourself (to answer for yourself–you don’t have to answer for me): What do you really feel guilty about? Do you really believe you’ve done something wrong? What exactly and why?

    I hope this helps. You are in my thoughts!

    Lori

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001671597291 September Rose

    I’m trying to make a difficult decision at the moment and all of these points are very useful to read – thank you :) Glad my google search for help with decision making has introduced me to Tiny Buddha

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome–and welcome to Tiny Buddha! =)

  • Bud

    I found the 30 items, in themself, full of thoughts, ideas, advice, and each had something valuable to think about be they good or bad. You can learn more from your errors than successes & most people do but may be reluctant to admit it.

  • Daniel

    I loved the article. Thanks! Hard decisions aren’t hard to take, but hard to make. This 30 sentences are real wisdom shared. Thanks once more

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Daniel!

  • LEE

    I am going through a really hard time right now. I have the
    choice to make rather or not to move to another apartment complex. The one I would be moving to is $250 cheaper a month which is good since I only work 2 part time jobs. But where I live I have really amazing friends. It is close to my mom’s doctors and my mom is not in good health. I like where I live, it is just the money thing of rather to move or not. Every time I decide to stay where I am I second guess my self again about the money situation. HELP!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Lee ~ I can understand why this would be a tough decision to make. Do you need the money you’d save by moving, or could you afford to stay where you are? It sounds like you want to stay, so I guess that’s the question you need to ask yourself!

  • Mary

    Good Morning Lori,

    I went threw the 30 ideas and still do not know what decision I should make. I have a fulltime job one hour away from home. The Uncle on husbands side takes care of our two boys 6 and 9 yrs old. (right now may need to find daycare which would take more money we would not have for pt job) I work usually 10-6:30 and 1-930pm. (every third weekend off three week rotation) My husband works 45min away 730 to 5pm mon-fri. I was looking for a job closer to home. I was offered two part time jobs open availablility 1/4 of the money I make now.(10 years at current job) I did the math and we would be border line of making it each month. The only problem is seeing my family that lives one hour away where I work fulltime and not being able to afford the hour drive there no more. I want to be home for my two boys and school activities. I want to put them into activities which were unable to do this last winter.(moved a hour away 11 months ago) Was able to have both part-time jobs being ok with flexability, but could mean I would lose potential hours. Uncle is not well enough to take boys to after school activities.
    Please anymore suggestions would be great.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Mary~ It does sound like a tough decision. If you took the part-time jobs, could you stay afloat? Would your husband be okay with that? Other than the decrease in money, would this choice have more positive consequences than negative ones?

  • AllGlitter

    HI Lori

    I have been studying at a UK boarding school (overseas student) for the past year. I have done exceptionally well academically, gotten posts of responsibility and all. But I felt really sad after coming back from easter break and my parents said you can come back. I really want to go back because I miss everyone a lot(friends family boyfriend who I love). There is a good school opening up back home that is good with university admissions to the States. So I think I could do well there too.
    But I had always wanted to go to Oxford and suddenly I dont really care that much anymore. Is that normal? I dont know what to do. Should I stick it out for another year or go back because I think that will make me happy? I am so confused and can’t pick.

    Would it have been better if my parents just hadn’t given me the choice…if I do come back it will of course waste their money. Please help!

  • AllGlitter

    Oh and I have just completed AS level…so one more year of school to go

  • http://www.facebook.com/rhonda.espinoza.10 Rhonda Blomker Espinoza

    I really like all the thoughts to think about here before a decision. Some I already do and most are common sense, it is just hard to make a life changing decision period!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I know what you mean Rhonda. Even with all the tips in the world, a difficult decision is still difficult!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    I can understand why this would be a tough choice, but unfortunately I can’t answer your question, as there really is no right or wrong answer for what you should do. If your parents hadn’t given you the choice, it may have seemed easier, since you wouldn’t have to go through the decision making process, but this could be a great learning experience for you.

    It might help to make a list of pros and cons for each and then sit with it to see which feels right for you. Try not to judge your feelings–just tune into your instincts so you can ascertain where they’re leading you. Odds are, you’ll know. There’s a post on the site about trusting instincts that may be interesting to you: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/why-its-hard-to-trust-our-instincts-and-how-to-start/

    I hope this helps!

    Lori

  • Jonathon Wilson

    this is a really great guide offering a window into the world of decision making,

    I’ve just created a post and making decisions and it’s completely different to the above, following the same principles just relating it in another form,

    Have a read

    http://scucessful.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/make-decision-now.html

  • http://twitter.com/mlynn Michael Lynn

    Decisions, decisions. Whenever I’m faced with a big decision, I find it helpful to get all the factors and possibilities out of my head on onto paper (or the screen.) I created a microsoft excel decision tool template to help me in this process. The tool lets you list all possibilities, decision factors and provide weights to various aspects of the decision. My template is freely available for download at http://www.mlynn.org/2011/01/a-simple-excel-decision-matrix-the-lynn-decision-tool/

    I hope this helps someone!

  • AllGlitter

    Thank you so much,,,…you’re a star!

  • berserk hijabi

    Hi everybody,
    I’m having a really,really hard time deciding what school I should go to for high school. Everybody’s pressuring me to attend a certain school and the thing is, I know they’re probably right. But for some reason I just don’t WANT to! Though I have several reasons for the school I’m rooting for, it looks like logic demands I go to the other. It’s really,really hard…

  • Ira

    You just helped me make one of the most difficult decisions of my life! :D Thank you so much for this post :)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome!

  • Vered

    I have always been the type to move on a whim. I love new experiences, new people, but I rarely end up getting too attached or familiar with a place because of this (which certainly has its’ downsides). I’ve had really bad luck (bad choices?) with love in the last few relationships and years and sometimes I feel like my path to success must be alone, then perhaps once I’m already there I will find love. This is especially difficult for me because I have abandonment issues and while I’ve always been independent to avoid being rejected I’m so tired of being alone.

    Now I have a low paying, but highly satisfying job waiting for me. I’ll get to be in a new beautiful place all summer and snowboard all winter, plus the weather is better than my home where I’m at now. The only reason I came back home (and am living in my parent’s basement) was to regain balance after a bad relationship ended and left me with nothing, and i’ve been pretty lonely here. I recently met this amazing guy though, and he swares up and down that he doesn’t want anything serious, yet just sleeps beside me many nights and we hold each other all night. I think I know what the right answer is, I mean if I stay here on a hope that it works out, then if it doesn’t I’ll still be crushed (even though i’ve been trying to talk myself into how I could be happy here) and the truth is I could be, with him….This is the hardest decision I’ve had to make in a while, and I’ll be alone once I leave but that is both exciting and unnerving as it has always been, and it always works out. I just hate to walk away from potential love.

  • Stan

    Hi Lori:

    These are well chosen tips. A minor correction: In Tip #6, it should be “affect” instead of “effect.”

    Stan

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks for letting me know Stan!

  • Shamara

    Hi Lori,
    Thank you for this. This has been very useful in my making an extremely difficult and emotionally gut-wrenching decision. Though I have a complete sense of relief, why does the right decision hurt so much? Why doesn’t the best option always make one feel a sense of immediate joy? I’ve been so depressed lately and in tears over making a decision that was the only one I could live with. Why then do I feel so sad and drained of life?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. It’s tough for me to answer your question, since I don’t know the specifics. I know for me, when I’ve made a decision that I knew was right for me but still felt conflicted, it was mostly because of the unknown. Even though I knew it was the best choice, I still worried about its implications. I think it’s natural to fear what we don’t know, which is why decision-making feels so hard–we want to feel confident that everything will “turn out okay,” when really, all we can ever know is that whatever happens, we can handle it.

  • Jen

    Just want you to know that this post is still helping people. It truly helped me today!

  • Marissa Alleyne

    Hi Lori

    My family wants me to be a law major but it is something I do not enjoy,and I enjoy history a lot more but I am scare what a history major can amount too in the real world because the economy is so bad.

    Marissa

  • Jenny

    Wow Lori thank you! This post helped clarify a difficult decision that I needed to make in a very short period of time. I just googled “How to make difficult decisions” and here I am. Thanks for the wisdom:) I hope your path is adventuresome and meaningful!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome, Jenny. I’m glad you found your way here. Welcome to Tiny Buddha! =)

  • Speedy Pensalez George

    Hey Lori, I Have a Little Problem i seem to not be able to do, I can give the Question in a Riddle :P makes it more fun…. Here it is…

    You Make A Choice out of 2 Opinions from 2 People you love, But How To keep from disappointing one of ether sides?

    Speedy is My Nickname, My Real Name is Matt :P Hope you can Help me

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Matt,

    I’m happy to help, but I’m not sure how to advise you since there’s a lot I don’t know about the situation. Generally, I can say this: we can’t really control who we disappoint. We can only control how we (potentially) disappoint them. In other words, our actions are in our own hands–whether we’re kind, compassionate, and considerate–but someone else’s interpretation and feelings are up to them.

    Does that make sense?

    Lori

  • Landy

    I have a big life choice. My husband took a job out of town 5 years ago. i stayed because of my elderly parents and family in my town as well as just not wanting to move. I moved a lot in my childhood and adult years. My husband is fed up with this arrangement and I’m afraid it may come down to moving or divorcing. though I miss him he works all the time and I’m afraid I will be lonely and miss my family and friends. But I know this is not fair to my husband. I also have to move my parents somewhere, not with me! Probably to my brothers town. I am so torn over this decision I feel as though I am paralyzed! Whatever I do will make someone unhappy. How do I make this decision?

  • Bob

    If they wanted a decision quickly, probably a warning sign. What did you decide?

  • Jess

    Hi Landy,
    I noticed you didn’t comment on what would make you unhappy (or happy), only how others would feel. I fine that the best way I can serve the world is to make sure I am happy first, that way I can give happiness to all those around me.

  • liv

    Hi Lori, I am in a situation where I have to make a decision. I have tried to follow my heart and have thought about what would make me happy…the only problem I have is that I am torn between both options and I feel like I will be unhappy with either decision and I just don’t know what to do.

  • Guest

    Hi Liv,

    Why do you think you’ll be happy no matter what you decide? I can see why that would make it tough to make a choice…

    Lori

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Liv,

    Why do you think you’ll be unhappy no matter what you decide? I can see why that would make it tough to make a choice…

    Lori

  • abby

    hi Lori
    I am faing a decision for 2 weeks now.. im moved many times n my life so you can say im used to it.. one tie was when i wanted and another against my will but everything turned to be fine.. now im in a job that its really below me since im foreign and the language barrier make a difficult for me to find suitable job..me and my partner has been offer a job( may i say he already has a good job) but we have to move to another city which is very calm and not that much to do.the job i great for both of us and there is no problem to chose if it was same place as we live we would both transfer our self there with out hesitation. but now im afraid i will be unhappy there. i have to move all my life there and move to a city i dont like and i know its boring.i dont know how decide. i dont know what makes me happy or relief?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Abby,

    I can see why this would be a tough choice to make. I know you mentioned it’s a boring city, but is staying where you are really an option, considering your work situation?

    Lori

  • abby

    I understand but i keep thinking maybe i can find a better job here.. but maybe not…some how i feel like i will be missing my fun and entertainment but same time i dont want to continue like this in a ordinary job for years…its very hard to decide but im trying to let go of my fear hoping that might help…i think my fear is to stuck there for years! still your post helped me to be less scared. and for that i am very thankful

  • abby

    Lori thank you for your help and great article .We have decided to move.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. I hope the move goes well!

  • Guest

    My ex husband and I live in separate cities. I am raising two lovely children full time by myself. Their Dad would like us to move back so we can co-parent the children together. He is unable to relocate to our present town because he has an excellent job that we all rely on. I am scared to make such a permanent decision by myself. I have been on the fence for 7 years with this debate of whether or not we should go. He is a very loving father. I see positives and negatives with this decision and I understand that there may not be a right or wrong decision. It takes a lot of courage to decide what is best for everyone. Any insight?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    I can understand why this would be a tough decision. Let me ask you this: Does this have to be a permanent decision? Could you decide to move but know that you are trying this to see if it’s good for you and your children–but then stay open to the possibility it may not be? Maybe if you take “permanent” out of the decision, it will feel less intimidating because you will realize that you won’t be trapped if you’re not happy.

    Lori

  • Feefers

    if you wouldn’t enjoy the career, I don’t think you should do it. Try googling different things a historian can do, perhaps one will catch your eye! Off the top of my head I can think of teaching, but that’s a fairly generic answer.

  • abirahman

    hi lori. its hard to me to get a good decision . and i know the way of good decision `

  • miranda

    Hi! This post helped a little but I’m still stuck. I want to study but I’ve just been offered a job. Job has bad hours and average pay but comes with a car. Whereas if I study I have no income…. Any tips on how to decide?
    Thanks!
    Miranda

  • SeymoureLykely

    thank you. very helpful. Little Buddha such a nice title.

  • Emily

    I honestly think you should consider long term aspects as well, I mean if you continue your studies you would possess greater opportunities to find a job with possibly a greater pay and more suitable hours and you could save up for a car, to put it simply, it would lead to a better quality of life, sorry if I am being to direct but I do honestly think that education should not be taken lightly!

  • Confused

    I have a decision to make. There is an amazing job offer that i would need to move 3 hours away for. It’s a 6 month project that would most likely turn permanent. The pay for the 6 months is twice as much as I make in a year. I’m going on a 4 year relationship, and I also coach soccer which i love and would have to either miss half the season or all of it sompletely. HELP!

  • Going crazy

    Why is it so hard to make these decisions? my partner of one yr wants to move back to the UK and I am not sure its what I want?! I’ve always wanted to live abroad, should I change my life long dream for a guy I’ve known a yr? does that seem crazy? I wish I had a crystal ball sometimes…..what if it goes wrong?! what if its the wrong choice?! arrhhh help

  • Brittany

    Hi Lori,
    I’m a teacher at a very well paying and stable school corporation. My husband is in the Marine Corps and is currently stationed in Japan. I did not go to live there with him after we got married because I had just gotten hired at my current job and he hated Japan and just wanted to get back in the states ASAP. And if I were to move out there with him, we would have had to live there for 3 extra years. He is about to get stationed in North Carolina and I am playing with the idea of giving up my teaching career to move with him. We would only be there for 2 years at the max, and then we would move home (where I live) for good and start a family. The smart decision would be to stay here with my teaching career and wait it out until his is finished, but there are a few other issues with this decision. One, I’m not sure if this is the corporation I see myself at for the rest of my life. Two, I would love the chance to move away for a short period of time while we are still young and aren’t tied down. I’m worried that I am already too tied down with my well-paying job. Also, he isn’t sure what he wants to do when he does get out and at least one of us would have job if I stay here. We have been able to save up a good chunk of money waiting it out this past year, but I’m worried if I don’t move to North Carolina, I will regret it and if I do move to North Carolina I won’t be able to find a teaching job when I get back.
    Thank you for any advice at all!

  • Ian Moe

    Alot of these completely contradict each other xD

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Brittany,

    I’m going to share with you a little exercise that’s been helping me make tough decisions recently. Imagine that I am someone you trust. And then imagine I am about to say, “i think the best of these two choices is to—”

    Which choice would you hope I recommend? What would you want to be reassured is the best one? Whatever that is, that’s what you really want to do, but are resisting due to fear.

    If you still feel caught in doubt/fear, ask yourself: which fears are the result of trying to keep myself safe, and which fears have to do with what I genuinely don’t want? The latter are the ones to listen to, because they’re based on your values and priorities–not the instinct to stay in your comfort zone at all costs.

    I hope this helps!

    Lori

  • Amanda

    After a google search on difficult decisions I found your blog. I have been grappling with a difficult decision for over a month now. My husband was offered a great job out of state, in a place I would never imagine going to. We moved last July and it was very hard on our oldest daughter. The thought of moving a year later is terrifying. My husband really wants to go and feels it is right. Logically and financially it is the best situation. He needs out of his current job and we are in a bad financial situation yet emotionally it does not feel right to me. I would be going further away from my family and affecting the lives of our daughters through another move. Is it worth the risk? The above options are helpful but I still cannot make a decision as I feel I hurt someone on either side…How do I feel sure of my decision and move forward – I feel so stuck.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Amanda,

    Does your husband need to take this job, financially? It seems to me that you suspect it would be wrong for you and for your children–so if it only feels right to one person in your family, and it’s not something that you all need, then perhaps it’s not really the best decision for your family as a whole.

    And here’s another question: When you read that, did you feel relieved? If so, perhaps you know in your heart that this is true, but you’re afraid of disappointing your husband. In a situation like this, it’s just not possible to please everyone, which is why I think it might be helpful to think of it in terms of percentages (what percentage of your family will be negatively impacted by either choice).

    I hope this helps!
    Lori

  • Joe Bloggs

    Hello Lori,

    I’m struggling with a decision.
    I am studying away from home but am VERY homesick.
    I can’t function properly when I’m away from home; I’m CONSTANTLY counting down the days until I can be home again; all I want is to be around my friends and family.
    I feel that my friends and family at home give me strength.
    I’m not very confident any more and might be suffering with some sort of anxiety which I feel is damaging me.

    I can apply to study at an institution at home, but this will take a further two years and It’s 50/50 whether I will get in, but it’s what I REALLY want.

    Do I risk it and quit my course here and go back home to study?
    Do I stick it out for another two years unhappiness away from home?

    Thanks for any advice, I know you must be so busy.

    Joe

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Joe,

    I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. How long have you been studying away from home? I remember when I did my semester abroad. I was incredibly homesick and I wanted to go back to the states. Someone suggested that I give it just a week more, and then if I wanted to go home, I could.

    Because I no longer felt trapped, I loosened up and started enjoying myself–and then after that week, I realized I’d be missing out on a huge opportunity if I left.

    Perhaps if you give yourself just a little more time you’ll be able to discern if leaving truly is the right decision for you–or if it’s just what you feel like doing now because you’re out of your comfort zone and feeling scared.

    Incidentally, you may also want to share this in the Tiny Buddha forums to gain advice from the community. It’s a really loving, supportive space! It’s free to join here:

    http://tinybuddha.com/register

    Then you can access the forums here:

    http://tinybuddha.com/forums

    I hope this helps!

    Lori

  • Member48

    I’ve been stuck…overthinking a decision and I know it’s making it worse. I also have trouble when people tell me to listen to my heart…my brain…my heart…they all sound the same in my head…same voice used by each. The “pick a paper” and see if u feel disappointed…that I can relate to. Only fear is that I may be missing a paper/choice to put in the mix

  • kavin paker

    This post and the comments have helped me tremendously in deciding what’s right for me.
    Hotelzimmer
    Munchen

  • CollegeStudent

    Hi Lori! I’m so happy I found Tiny Buddha. I’m 18 and just graduated from high school. I’ve been accepted to really good private school. At the time of decision making it felt right and I was happy to go there. Recently however, I attended the orientation and now I’m rethinking my whole future. I had a horrible experience, made no friends, and even got in a little trouble. (Nothing major, but my roommate and I already know the dean of students and classes haven’t even started yet) Going into a big place friendless is incredibly knew to me, I’ve grown up with the same group of friends since kindergarten. I know that there comes a time when I am supposed to grow up and move on but after my experience at orientation, I can’t see paying so much for a school I may potentially hate. My other option is to go to community college and transfer to a 4 year college in two years. This way I can save money and spend more time deciding where to go from there. If I do this, I feel like I am letting myself down by not going the more challenging way after pushing myself so hard in high school. Basically I have to know what I’m doing with the rest of my life soon and I’ve never been more torn.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    Congrats on your graduation!

    As for your predicament, I personally think there’s no “right” or “wrong” decision–and if you decide to start with community college, that’s a totally valid choice. (And smart financially, since a lot of people end up buried in debt after graduating.)

    But if you feel like you’re reconsidering solely because of your orientation experience, and you feel like you’re letting yourself down, then perhaps you’re responding mostly to your fear.

    The feeling could be a sign that you want the challenge; or it could be your intuition telling you this simply isn’t right for you. If you take some time to get quiet and listen to your gut–and you set aside your worries about what other people will think–odds are, you’ll know which is true.

    If you decide you want the challenge, maybe you could try one semester and then consider transferring if you decide the school isn’t for you. No decision is permanent. And sometimes the only way to know what you want is to give something a chance and see how you feel.

    I hope this helps a little!

    Lori

  • SweetPea

    Hi, I’m kind of stuck in what seems to be the most difficult situation of my whole life. I recently filed for divorce from a 12 year marriage. In the middle of that I started seeing a guy, who was also married, we hit it off and decided that we would eventually be together when our marriages ended. His wife found out he was cheating on her with me and she filed for divorce. They told their kids and so did my husband and I. All of this took place over the last 60 days and even after it all we were still happy together, sharing as much time as we could. The last week, he told me that he was feeling like he was missing his family and maybe even his wife. I didn’t understand because I knew what we had talked about and the plans we had made. Everything seemed to be going great in my eyes. I asked him what he needed from me .. maybe I should allow him some space, well the next day he asked for space, specifically a couple days. He said he would text me. Its been 5 days and I haven’t heard a word from him. I need to know what to do. Do I literally sit here and act like I don’t care and like this isn’t bothering me, do I reach out to him?, I’m trying to be understanding in this whole situation, but I feel like at this point at the very least he should tell me what his plan is .. right? My fear is that he will say that he decided to stay with her and make his marriage work. Each day I feel more and more empty, I am so in love with him its making me crazy. My anxiety is at an all time high. Please help.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    I’m so sorry to hear about everything that’s been going on. I see it’s been a week since you first wrote. Have you connected with him since you wrote this?

    Lori

  • SweetPea

    We have connected and talked since my post. We talked a good long while about everything that each of us were dealing with. We both realize no matter how badly we want to be with eachother we are both in the middle of divorce and need to focus on our kids and handling things with them first. He said he took the time away from me to reflect and figure out that regardless of how much he tried to tell himself that staying married and working it out was the right thing to do, he just wasent able to do that. He is in love with me and the heart wants what the heart wants. Thanks for listening

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. I’m glad to hear you’ve connected and have worked things out for you. =)

  • dulchinea

    I’m debating between a prestigous out of state school and staying in my city at a lower tier but still respectable college. It’s only for 2.5 years. My problem is that I am an only daughter to a single mother. Her steady job is only for about 12 hours a week at minimum wage and she has a temp job that is full time but that is temporary. Usually she works 6 months than is laid off for 2 months but if work goes down she might be told to stay home for a week or two. Because of this I contribute to her household expenses. I have saved up some money and plan to work while I’m away but I can’t seem to shake off the idea that if things got really bad (and they have gotten really bad in the past, as in getting the electricity shut off or owing months of back rent) I won’t be there to help out. The out of state school is not my dream school but it is a great opportunity. I feel like I might regret not going but I would very much regret not being able to help my mom out. I’ve thought that maybe it’s an issue of being afraid of the challenge or of failure so I talk myself into leaving by saying to myself: well it’s only 2.5 years, I can make it work, it’ll go by fast enough… which all sound to me like things someone says to themselves before going off to prison not to something that should be exciting….right? The final wrench is that by staying in my city I would be able to save some money over the interim and not work as many hours. When I initially submitted my paperwork to go out of state I was ok for like an hour and then suddenly it all hit me and I was freaking out like I had never done before. I wasn’t even crying but kinda sobbing and with really shallow breaths. That’s what got me thinking it wasn’t the best idea to leave, and after that I spent a week without appetite, bursting out in tears, the moment I wake up I remember I have to make this decision and I my stomach seizes up and I start to heave like I want to throw up but I can’t….I’d always been a worrier but had never felt quite this much stress over one decision….

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I think it’s wonderful and admirable that you want to continue helping your mother. She’s fortunate to have you looking out for her!

    Have you talked to her about your conflicted thoughts on this? I have a feeling she may encourage you to pursue this opportunity because you deserve the best chance for your future. And as kind as it is for you to want to be there for her, it’s a lot of responsibility for you to have to take on, especially when you’re just beginning your adult life.

    In regards to the panic, that’s natural when making a big change. Panic has preceded very major decision I’ve ever made–and every worthwhile one. So if you can make peace with leaving your mother, perhaps if/after she reassures you that she’ll be just fine, perhaps then you can tune into your intuition to see if you’re freaking out because this plain and simply doesn’t feel right for you; or if it’s more that you’re scared of getting outside your comfort zone.

    If it’s the latter, then it may be worth pushing through. I know I’ve never regretted pushing outside my comfort zone if it was something that, deep down, I knew I wanted to try. Even if I ended up quitting or changing paths after trying it, I was always grateful for the experience and associated lessons. The same may be true for you.

    I hope this helps. You are in my thoughts!

    Lori

  • Adam23

    Hey
    Great article, I’m facing a school related problem right now. My original plan was to take a year off between my undergrad and getting my masters in physiotherapy to travel, but after looking at my GPA and course work I will need to upgrade a prereq class before applying and I barely meet the requirement for the degree and not at all for some schools. my chances of being accepted next year in Canada are pretty low, my other option is to try an get accepted overseas and go straight into the UK program this semester..which doesn’t give me much time for a decision. The program is like triple the money though, plus extreme living expensies..it’s sometimes hard to figure out what your heart wants or instincts when there are a lot of variables… trying to decide if i stick with the original plan and just apply to Canada and the UK next year, or just jump right into it.

  • Haani

    Hi Lori,
    I am 19 years old and trying to make a decision between staying in Arizona or going to Arkansas.
    My plan for this year is to just start school and save up money because I plan to go to school in Lebanon next year.
    I have lived in AZ for 8 years. (Last year i lived in france as an au pair). It is familiar and i have a lot of family and most of my friends here. The only thing is I am living with my family here and i do not think it is a good choice for me.
    Arkansas, my grandparents live there and they’d help me out with a lot. I’ve spent my summers there as a kid so I am associating it with those amazing memories. The only thing is that my grandparents are very religious and if they are giving me so much support they will want me to comply by their rules. But, i would also be living on my own and it would be new and different.
    I dont want to make a decision out of impulse or just what seems most fun. I need to figure out what is best for me. My family has given me options and they said it is my decision. I need to decide by like today because school starts very soon.
    In either state I would be going to a community college and getting a job.
    I am having so much difficulty deciding and I am slowly losing my mind.
    Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Haani,

    I can understand why this would be a tough decision. It seems like there are pros and cons on either side. Which choice makes you the most excited?

    Lori

  • Maria

    Hi Lori,
    i hav no clue how i landed up here.. but its helpd me think.. i m confusd to such an extnt of goin nuts.. i need ur help.. it would b vry kind of u if u could help me take a decision..

    i hv takn a decision of doin an MBA.. as m an Indian i thought i would study here itslf.. so i decided on oxford n acharya college (apprntlee the best colleges for ME)
    but i got selectd to uni. of canberra and birmingham city uni. , this is what has messed me up.. i neva thought i wod gt in either of the college… now that i hv.. m CONFUSED

    m 23yrs OLD… And if i tak a decision of goin abroad i wil hv to give up on MBA in india (cause MBA here starts on 1st of sept).. the ones abroad starts in Jan-Feb 2015…
    i wil bcom older..
    its a risky decision fr me…. HELP :(

    Thank you so much… even if u dont reply.. ur work is beautiful.. thank u

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Maria,

    Congrats on getting into both colleges! I think what makes decisions like this so tough is that we want a guarantee we’re making the “right” choice. But there is no right choice. Sometimes the best we can do is follow our gut and trust that whatever happens, we can handle it, and even create something good from it. So the question you need to ask yourself is: which choice do you feel drawn to?

    Lori

  • Ben Mattson

    Good ideas but I am still stuck on whether to take a job for another. Ugghhh. Hardest decision of my life. Now I work from home and it is so nice and convenient. The other job is corporate and a long commute for more cash. ugghhh. Writing this status did not help. lol, fml.

  • Siberium M.

    Hello Lori, I came across this place with a problem. I am young and not yet 16, but I have a pet lizard that eats a lot of food. I am struggling with many personal things lately and I haven’t been feeding him as regularly as I should. His cage is filthy and I want what’s best for him. I have the decision to rehome him or keep him… I don’t know what do. Help?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Siberium,

    I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling lately. I’m sure it’s a tough decision to rehome a pet you love. Would it be possible to rehome him temporarily so that you could take him back when you’re not struggling quite as much?

    Lori

  • Iny Tran

    Hi,
    It is a hard decision. You should understand the pros and cons in your choice. Never mind about your age. I have a Japanese friend, he is over 60 years old, but he always keeps on believing his dream. Now he is studying English and he will enter a bachelor degree in US.

  • Jamie W

    Hi Lori,
    I am 17 years old and had 4 offers to play D1 basketball in college. I picked one that I knew was the right school for me, but now I am doubting that I even want to play in college. I have played my whole life, and have missed out on many opportunities because of it. I really want to study abroad and I can’t do that if I play basketball. My desire to do other things is greater than my desire to play college basketball, but I have worked so hard for this opportunity and feel I am throwing away all that work. Any advice?
    Thanks,
    Jamie

  • Gizmo

    Hi, I don’t want to be depressive but I am trying to decide a major decision but I can’t think about it and seem to be focusing more on jobs around the home that need to be done instead of the important decision. I just go blank .
    For a person who dissects everything and always has an option this is odd for me.
    I had a double mastectomy when I was 36 as preventative measures as advised by breast surgeons after my sister passing away from breast cancer at 28 and 6 months later my mother passed away with the same awful diseas.
    I couldn’t have a gene test as they were unable to find any blood samples of my sister and mother so there was nothing to compare mine with for an accurate result.
    15 years later I have had a gene test and results were as I thought I am positive for having a brca breast cancer gene.
    So , I had my overie and Fallopian tubes removed and due to have more breast surgery, and cannot decide whatsoever to do !!!.
    Have implants again reconstruction, have nothing, or have body fat removed from tummy and used to create breasts.

  • Gizmo

    Can anyone advise please ???

  • Martha

    I am faced with a difficult decision right now concerning jobs. I’ve had dreams of teaching abroad for a while now. I have applied to 2 programs both of which I didn’t get into. Now I am waiting on one more, which I’m on a “waiting list for further review,” since i chose a shorter contract, I’m going to be looked at towards the end. I have the flexibility right now to wait until that time since I’m living at home and it will be just after I finished school thatI’d find out. However, I was just offered a teaching job that is very desirable- part-time and not hugely stressful position, a place where I’d be comfortable, and good money. If I turned it down the alternative would be full-time for the same amount of money. I’ve had a stressful time in my teaching program so a break sounds nice and saving some money would be great. But a part of me still wants to hold out for the program, even though I may end up not getting that at all. I’m trying to balance between two good opportunities, one of them that isn’t even for sure :/ but is what I’ve dreamed about. Confused.

  • rose

    This is a good list thanks. I really needed some advice and sadly didn’t have anyone in life I could ask…

  • kelsey

    Hi im so confused dont no what to do go to my mums for christmas where theres always raws but my son wants to or stay at home with my partner as he can go 2 my mums as hes working all over xmas