How to Make a Decision

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a good life is the fruit of a succession

of good decisions especially around love

and work

however we seldom accord to the business

of decision-making the kind of careful

attention it requires when faced with a

large decision we lack rituals and

procedures we typically procrastinate

lean on the nearest person or rush

headlong into an unexamined solution

fortunately decision-making is a skill

and like any other it can be taught the

chief enemy of good decisions is a lack

of sufficient perspectives on a problem

we should systematically think through

any issue from five distinct angles

through the eyes of variously our enemy

our gut death caution and courage as we

try out juggle with and then synthesize

these oblique perspectives we will feel

our sense of possibility expand and a

tolerable way forward gradually emerge

from the present confusion our enemies

have deep insights into us they know our

frailties they actively want the worst

for us and they're bringing a desperate

mean intelligence to bear on our case

thinking of them helps beautifully to

clarify our thoughts it can be

unfeasibly hard to be a true friend to

ourselves in the way we should be our

minds may well go blank if asked to

imagine what a sweet and well-meaning

person might advise us to do next with

so much better at getting into the heads

for bitterest foes they appreciate our

weaknesses and temptations like no other

we can at last put these characters to

constructive use by doing the very

opposite of what we suspect probably

very correctly they might propose and

say we will be energized and focused by

the haunting voices of those dispiriting

but very telling and mesmerizing judges

those who refuse to believe in us

in a sense we know the arts are already

or at least one version of it we call it

gut instinct and it's there from the

moment a dilemma first appears the gut

is the accumulation of all the decision

making lessons we've ever derived across

our lives revealed and consciously at

speed most of us have become rather good

at not listening to the gut probably it

got us into trouble a number of times

maybe pushing us into some crazy moments

so which we paid dear so now we pride

ourselves on being thinking people who

take their time gather evidence and make

full use of their higher mental powers

as well we should nevertheless we

thereby lose a source of important

insight we should be brave enough to

invite our gut to the decision-making

table not necessarily in order to follow

it but in order to know what it wants

and then submit it stubborn and

impatient certainties to gentle rational

cross-examination the largest but always

easily forgotten certainty is that all

our decisions are unfolding in the

backdrop of a giant ticking death clock

we should listen to its beat and take

its daunting messages to heart the

thought of death has a habit of

highlighting our responsibilities to

ourselves and of weakening our concern

for living according to what's expected

of us by society it's a terrifying agent

of authenticity death may lend us a

perverse new sort of confidence to

tackle challenges by frightening us

about one enormous thing it may make us

less scared of the many smaller

obstacles in our way our lives won't be

what they could be unless we submit

pretty much every choice we face to the

arbiter of eternity and oblivion

somewhere around the table at every

decision must be the voice of caution it

wears doughty clothes and speaks quietly

it certainly lacks glamour in an age of

bravado and bombast it's easy to feel

that we must always and invariably jump

because life has to be about giving the

new ago but it may not be let's remember

caution clears its throat to tell us

that most new businesses fail most

schemes end in disaster

and most future relationships will

merely rehash the themes of the current

unsatisfactory one furthermore there's a

huge amount to be lost and there are

many people around us who make it very

hurt by our ambitions the devil one

knows may just have the edge over the

many demons one doesn't quite caution

doesn't look down on the idea of

compromise it recognizes that there are

at points simply no ideal options for

the imperfect beings we ultimately are

caution has the bravery not always to

try to rebel the best reality from an

early age we've learned how to follow

the rules wait in line and do the

dutiful expected things we can be good

boys and girls it got us to where we are

today there would have been no other way

to learn how to spell drive a car or

take up a position in the working world

but there can now be a subtle risk from

an opposite direction the risk of being

overly faithful for too long to

conventions that were dreamt up without

our particular interests and hopes in

mind at points we need vigorously to

relearn the art of courage to remember

that the happiest lives have invariably

had inflection points where people did

the slightly unexpected and weird thing

took a gamble and won sometimes caution

is just weakness and cowardice wrapped

up in the cloak of self-deception

courage and caution need to fight this

one out without any presumption of

victory on either side any hard decision

we make will always by definition not be

perfect but with such thinking behind us

we have a slightly better chance than

usual of opting for the good enough joy

our videos are just the start of our

content we believe in making the world a

more emotionally intelligent place and

to that end we've now also published

some extraordinary books as well as

other merchandise that reinforces some

of the themes illustrated in our videos

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