Regret and how to make big decisions

I had a really interesting idea last night. I’ve been struggling with some big decisions lately and am really at a loss of what to do. I think I’ve figured out why. Regret.

I’ve realized that I have a lot of regrets about things in my life. I think everybody does. I’ve also realized that the reason I have such trouble making big decisions is that I constantly worry about whether or not I will regret the decision. This leads to indecision and countless hours spent worrying about something. In the end, I make the decision and end up regretting something regardless.

I think this is a good process to make big decisions:

1. Thing about all of the big decisions in your past. What do you regret about them? I have regrets about moving to Minnesota. Moving to San Francisco. Women. Taking certain jobs. Going to college at UF. Buying a condo. Buying a crappy cell phone. Even buying little things like clothes or shoes. I think about these decisions and realize that I have tons of regrets.

2. Now think about if you’d made the opposite decision. What regrets would you have then? If I’d stayed in FL, I would regret never leaving. If I’d stayed in MN, I’d regret never leaving. If I’d dump my girlfriend, I’d miss her. If I’d taken a different job, I’d regret missing the one I got. If I’d kept renting and not bought the condo, I’d regret not living downtown. The point here is to realize that you would have regrets no matter what you do. We all try to justify how perfect and awesome our lives would be if we’d only made a different decision, but the reality is that we will always regret something.

3. Now you can realize that you would have regrets no matter what you do. We all try to justify how perfect and awesome our lives would be if we’d only made a different decision, but the reality is that we will always regret something. Life is short and you can only do so much. You can really do anything you want with your life, but you can’t do everything. You can only live in one place at a time. You can only have one job (or maybe 2) at a time. You have to make decisions and pick one thing over another. And sadly, you will always have feelings of regret about not picking the other option. This is human nature we always find things that we don’t like about our current situation and wish we had another situation.

4. This means you can stop worrying about whether or not you will regret your decisions. No matter what you choose, there will be something you don’t like about it. By realizing this, you can free yourself from worry. You now know that there will definitely be feelings of regret in life. Why worry about it? They’re going to happen anyway.

5. Decisions will still be tough to make though. You will still wonder which option you will regret less. So, start with a list. Write out a big list of all of the things you might regret about each option. We always like to get caught up in the good things, but forget the bad. So what will you regret about each choice?

What will I regret if I move back to MN? I will regret not having warm weather, working in the tech industry in SF, living in a great city, being in California, being on an adventure, being close to the mountains, being able to see all kinds of neat stuff on the west coast.

What will I regret if I stay in SF? I will regret not having the close friends I once had there, not seeing my nieces grow up, not being able to easily go camping during the nice months, being further from my family in MN and FL, being able to live in a house, having a car, being able to save more money and become financially independent, going fishing in Canada, going to the BWCA, having more vacation days.

There are more on both sides. The point is to make a huge list, but focus on what you will regret about each decision. Then weigh which will have more regrets. You should start leaning one way or the other. Combine this with the gut feeling you have and you should be able to make your decision.

6. Make the decision. Realize that you will have feelings of regret about that decision. But also realize that you would have regretted the other option too. It doesn’t really matter which one you chose, there are always downsides to both. Now you can live with the freedom and peace of mind that either decision wasn’t perfect.

Big decisions are tough and I haven’t made one yet on this. But I have truly realized that I can stop worrying about what I will regret because I will always regret something. Without the worry, you can make a clear choice and leave the stress behind.

What if you can’t find your passion?

 

What does it take to truly care about something?  How can someone become passionate about something?  Sometimes you start to realize that nothing is exciting to you anymore.  How do you get past that?

You may be sick of your job, but what if you don’t know what you’d rather do?  Maybe we should all just keep trying new things until something sticks.  Maybe we should all just learn to stop worrying about it and pass the days as if everything is alright.

I don’t really think that is the way to do it though.  Someone has to do something.  Someone has to care enough to get things moving in the right direction.  I wonder how many people feel this way.  What do you do when you realize that you can’t even think of things that you are passionate about?

This is a weird thought to me.  I’ve always just done the next thing in life because that’s how you do it.  Graduate high school, go to college, get a job, get a girlfriend.  When does it actually become a career?  When do you start to get excited about something?

Or is it really all about just finding what you can tolerate and going with it?  This just seems crazy to me.  Why would you want to just pass the time?  That seems like such a waste.

There has to be an interesting idea out there.  Remember when you were a kid and people asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up?  I don’t remember saying what it is, but I know it wasn’t that I wanted to sit in a cubicle all day.  I realize now though that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  It seems like I should have gotten there by now or at least started on that path.

I know there have to be more people out there like this.  It’s weird when you wonder this.  What if everybody else knows exactly what they want to do with their lives?  What if you just forgot to decide that when you were a kid and will always be confused as to what that answer is?

Why do people think so much?  Sometimes it would be great to just shut off the mind and see what happens.  Over thinking is a major problem for a lot of people.  I think it is especially a problem with young people in my generation.  Everybody thinks of the greatest answers to everything, but so few people are actually working to make those things come true.

I’ve had a billion ideas for inventions and businesses, but never acted upon any of them.  Maybe I’m passionate about coming up with ideas and not doing anything with them.  Who knows.  Is everybody else out there this confused about things?

How does one go about becoming passionate about something?  How does one go about deciding what they want to do with their life?  Or do you just go with what you’re doing and figure out how to stop yourself from thinking about this stuff?

What do you think?  Do you have a passion and are you following it?