Oftentimes the simplest choices require the hardest decisions. It is not the decision itself that is hard for us because most decisions can be made by logic and rationalization but what torments us is whether or not our logic and rationalization are correct and the regret that follows after. The problem is that once we make it, there is no way of knowing the alternative. If the consequence is favorable then all is well but if not, we naturally assume that we made the wrong decision. But we must realize that the alternative might have led to the same consequence as well or worse, for those people who are fond of math, let’s just say that the two decisions, while mutually exclusive are not mutually exhaustive. This means that there is a good chance (I wouldn’t say equal as it varies according to the situation) that both decisions could lead to a similar outcome, both good or both bad and we fail to recognize this. We blame ourselves and our analysis for making the wrong choice despite serious deliberation when, in fact, we should be blaming the choice available at our disposal. Granted the choices available is not always in our control, but when it is, we should acknowledge it and use it to our advantage.
This is all well and good but you might be wondering how one can identify this without knowing the future or the potential consequence of each decision beforehand. A very valid point. The truth is, we can never know for sure and trying to guess all the possibilities is an exercise in futility. However, we can try to add choices to our pool to make it as close to an exhaustive set as possible. While this does not guarantee the right decision, it allows us to rationalize better and it allows us to weigh the pros and cons in a much more efficient way. And if we still end up making the wrong decision and inevitably blame ourselves, at least now it will carry some merit. At least, now the blame will be blameworthy and instead of contemplating the ‘what-if’s’ we will know for a fact that the decision was wrong and this will not only give us closure but it will also help us move on much faster and ultimately, that is what we want isn’t it?