From time to time, everyone finds himself or herself in a situation where they have to make a very tough choice. This can be quite a difficult task. This is a situation where each of the two or more available options or opportunities have nearly equally compelling attributes. What makes such choices is that while such options may be of compellable value, they don’t each have exactly the same offerings. Some of the attributes that you have in the option A will not be available in option B. Similarly, some of the key attributes that option B provides are lacking in A. Ideally, you may be wanting to have everything that A has plus those attributes that are in B but not found in A. unfortunately, the world rarely works that way. In most cases, the choices come as a package.
This is where a quotation from the then spokesperson for Pope John Paull II, Dr. Navarro Valls. He once said: “Every choice necessary involves leaving something else behind.” Many of us struggle with big choices because either we do not know this brutal truth that is so well put by Dr. Valls or because we want to ignore this reality. We have to embrace the reality that the moment we move to make a choice, we will have to part with something. We cannot make a choice and at the same time have everything. In choosing, we have to opt to leave something behind.
This now simplifies our question on making choices to the art of choosing what to take and what to leave behind. A choice is not just the art of taking a preferred route—it also including choosing what to do without, what you leave behind. In making a choice, we need to consider both situations. We need to consider what we take and also the impact of leaving behind what we choose to leave behind. In some cases, when you factor in the impact of leaving behind something else, that may help you to change your choice. Choices should not only be measured by what you gain by choosing the option you take but also by what you lose once you leave the other bit behind. You have to consider both sides of the choice if you are to make the best choice.
How exactly can one do this exercise then? To make such a thorough choice, you really need to think hard and deep. You need to list down your options and write down what you gain and what you lose in case of taking any of the choices. In the end, you need to make a comparison to see which option maximises your gain while at the same time minimising what you lose. The best choice will be the option that achieves both objectives of maximising value while reducing the sacrifices you make in taking the preferred option.
Of course, you need to remember that there are times when you can mix and match by taking some attributes from the options that you leave behind. Wherever that is possible, go for and it and make your own option package – why not? Always aim at coming out with the best possible scenario in the situation. Do not undercut yourself.
Also remember that you are rarely compelled to have to make the choice. There are times when the best choice is to choose nothing. In fact, in politics, there is this interesting strategy where they say give your opponent five choices, all of them bad. In that case, a clever opponent will take none of the five choices. Be smart and don’t fall to tricks. If all choices are bad, don’t take any. You are better off without any choice at all rather than having a bad choice.
All the best as you work to master the art of making tough choices!