Essay View

Opinions and Decisions

Decisions are hard, but getting advice can be harder. Emma Jennings writes about how to decide what you want.

by Emma Jennings

Decisions are hard. Receiving advice can be harder. The more you ask, the more opinions you get and soon there are holes that are filled and mines which are made. The routes and views all blending into crescendos and falls.

Recently, I had to make a tough decision on whether to take a new job and shake up my comfortable commitments again. People were expressing their views of what I should do. They wanted to help and I asked! I felt I needed their advice. But listening to swirling perspectives is a bit like a restaurant filled with different spices, tastes and aromas. They either tempt you or make you wrinkle your nose in distaste. Let’s say you’ve just ordered a plate of tasty pesto pasta. You’re about to tuck into its warm soft and squidgy centre and then a steaming stone-baked pizza whizzes past you to the other table. You see a smile, a raised eyebrow and an ‘Oh wow!’ and suddenly you want pizza more than anything in life.

Suddenly all the deliberation, the nit-picking, the finger sliding over the menu, the hums and haaas were for nothing. Now you know your true calling. You knew in your gut you wanted pizza. Quite literally.

But wait; you chose that pasta over scrupulously looking at the menu and deciphering every option. You narrowed your choice down first via veggie options, then mood dependent taste options. You weren’t feeling pesto, so your partner suggested the tomato one looked good. You saw a plate of pasta and the waiter was basically at the table. So you had to make a decision. Maybe the calorie counter influenced your decision. Maybe your partner did. Does it matter?

“We guide ourselves to our own destination. We give ourselves reasons to be where we are.”

The problem with most of us is that we make decisions based on logic and rationality. We make tables; a list of pros and cons. We look at the statistics. Time. Speed. Velocity. Outcomes. We listen to both sides. We’ve grown up learning that we need to research and are told to weigh things up. It’s all scientific. It’s all logical. It’s all measured.

But what about love?

What about love?

 How do you measure that?

BEAT. 

How can you measure something that’s intangible? That feeling of ecstasy, excitement, joy, love, happiness or inner peace? You can’t.

So now we have two interdependent categories: THINGS that can be measured and THINGS that can’t.

It’s surely inequitable to compare and base our views and opinions on just one of these two categories. So now our choice can only be made by self. We must weigh up the things that can be measured versus the things that can’t. It is head versus heart. The only reason we come down the road and turn right rather than left is because we give ourselves reasons to justify it.

We guide ourselves to our own destination. We give ourselves reasons to be where we are. Many people drift through life letting other people make choices for them. Fear, reward and punishment guide them. People fear change and are dictated by common order. Starbucks suggest a new latte, so they order it. Many of us will be influenced by crowds, partners, friends and leaders; joined perspectives are powerful after all! But many of us ultimately make decisions based on what we want . . . even if we don’t realise it.

I asked for opinions because I felt like I needed them. Because choices are hard with the responsibility we harbour. But really . . . they were just extra perspectives to draw upon in the way that I wanted. So make up your reasons. Make up your logic and order. Because the right decision is ringing in your ear and pulsating in your gut. At the end of the day, your choice is your choice and I guarantee that if we lived in a parallel universe, someone else will be doing just the opposite. And they will, most likely, most probably, be getting on just fine. So go and select your pizza of choice.

You know what you want. Deep down.

 


 

Emma Jennings | @emjen92 | website

 

 

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