I have a tough time with hard decisions. I overthink every pro and con and often err on the side of safety. One of the traits people often say I possess is a level head on my shoulders, so even though I really would like to select the more daring option, I don’t. It isn’t logical. It doesn’t make sense. Up until recently, I thought that was fine. I was doing what society expected of me. Now, I find that being safe and rational about every decision usually leads to life of merely existing, not living.
As I was watching a few TedTalks today (I love them), I saw one discussing hard decisions. Ruth Chang argues that when you make a decision you put yourself behind it. It is your chance to show the world who you are and where you stand. She says decisions made because it is the safe choice is drifting through life. I was a drifter.
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you might be thinking that I didn’t make the safe decision when I quit my job to become a writer. You’re right. Inspired by a friend who believes life should be lived and not just survived, I decided to leave my regular paycheck for the uncertainty of following one of my dreams.
I didn’t leave without some planning. I tried to be as rational as you can be when you are chasing a dream. Sometimes I do take the path less traveled, but it is always an agonizing decision.
Chang also said in her presentation that hard decisions are between two choices that are equally good. If the choices were not equal, it wouldn’t be a hard choice.
My current hard decision is determining if I want to try out solo travel. Let’s examine, shall we?
On a few occasions, I traveled alone but met someone at my destination. On most trips I find time to explore some on my own. While I have experience being alone in unfamiliar places, it is not nearly the same as actually traveling alone.
I researched solo travel quite a bit and every resource and every person I know who has traveled solo say it is an amazing experience. You learn so much about yourself and you build self-confidence and self-reliance.
Those I speak to who have never traveled alone have a different perspective. When I mention I may want to take a trip on my own I get responses like: “Why would you want to do that?” “Won’t you get lonely?” “Is it safe?” “I could never travel alone!” – You get the idea.
Then there is the money issue. I live the very glamorous life of a struggling writer. Is it worth the cost to have the experience? How can you put a monetary value on growing as a person, as a writer, as a world citizen?
If I follow Chang’s lead and make the decision that shows the world the person I am or want to become (after all, we are all works in progress), the decision is no longer hard. I want to be the person who can travel alone. I want to have this experience.
If you look at all your hard decisions the way Ruth Chang suggests, then there seems to be no hard choices. You select the option that supports who you are. You decide to live and not exist. You decide to not be a drifter.
How do you make hard decisions? Are you a solo traveler? Where have you gone?