We all have different ways of making decisions. Some seek advice, some ponder for days, others make snap decisions based on gut instinct.
Is there a right way? Perhaps not. But there are better ways - thinking tools that have been developed to help us refine our beliefs and choices.
When I am faced with a choice, I can usually find the answer by asking myself two questions, both of which magnify the situation in order to examine it.
Photo: "my way." by Jorge GT
Question One: If everyone did it, what kind of world would we live in?
Let's take the example of throwing your litter on the ground - should you do it?This stops us from thinking that we are different or that the activity is a one-off. I know that not everyone throws their litter on the ground. In fact, the vast majority of people do not. So if I do, just once, is it wrong? It's only once....it's only a little bit... but by applying this question I know my answer. If everyone did it, we would live in an ugly, unsanitary world. And that's not the kind of world I want to live in.
Question Two: If I did this every day for the rest of my life, what kind of life would I have?
For this question, let's take the example of eating a family-sized block of chocolate. Should I do it? What if I only do it once - that's ok, right? Question two does not let us indulge in such excuses. If I were to eat a family sized block of chocolate every day, I know I would have an uncomfortable, unhealthy, and potentially quite short life. I now know my answer.
Photo:"Free Child Walking on White Round Spheres Balance Creative Commons" by Pink Sherbet Photography
I realise these questions ask you to take what could be a complicated choice and make it black and white. We all deserve indulgences and mistakes - as humans it is not in our nature to be perfect. However, if you are looking for a way of seeing an old problem in a new light, just ask yourself these two questions.