The Crossroad Dilemma: How to Make The Best Decision When You Don't Know What To Do

You are at a crossroad in your life; you’re unsure of your next step. What path do you take? What do you choose? What do you do when you're not sure what your next steps should be? It’s a tough spot and there are no easy answers.

Each person must weigh his or her own situation and determine the best course of action for them, for their life, for that moment. No one can do it for you, but there are some universal principles that can help you make the best decision for you.

If you have time to make the best decision, take it.

If you have the luxury of time, take it. Allow yourself some time to think things through and consider the potential outcomes of your decision. It often helps to make a list of the pros and cons of a decision. Having a visual is helpful and the act of writing down the positives and negatives can help you see the situation more clearly. Sometimes, being patient and waiting will result in things working out on their own.

All too often we want to jump in and fix a problem or control a situation. Reacting on emotions can be reckless and can ultimately do more harm than good. Taking a step back, being mindful, and objectively approaching the situation can be very beneficial by allowing you to make a sound, well thought-out decision.

Remember, doing nothing is a choice.

You always have a choice, even if it is just to do nothing at all. Sometimes you simply need to walk away from a situation without making any decision – and that’s OK. Some situations have no good resolutions; you have to be prepared for that. Remember, it isn’t that you aren’t moving forward; it’s that you are choosing to not move forward right now.

When you need to make the best decision now, your first instinct is often right.

Knowing what to do in the heat of the moment, when the decision must be made now, is nerve wracking at best. When you don’t have time to sort your thoughts or examine potential outcomes, your first instinct is often your best option. That’s your first instinct, not your first emotion. There is a difference. Instinct is that little voice, that feeling that flows through you and informs what you should do – even if emotionally you don’t like it. And therein lies the rub. All too often we'll override our instinct in preference for our emotion. In many situations following your emotions just feels better.

Don't confront that person who knowingly wronged you.

Don't tell the truth.

Ignore that situation.

Often our emotions tend to offer us the easy way out, while often our instincts tell us what is the right thing to do.  When you have to make a decision and it has to be now, just do a quick self-reflective check. Ask yourself, “Is this coming from a place of emotion or from first instinct?”. Err to the side of instinct, even if your emotions don’t like it.

Own your decision and move forward.

Whether it is no decision, a swift decision, or a decision that took time and self-reflection, make sure you own it. Sometimes, even the best decision will have fallout. People get hurt, opportunities are lost, and it can be impossible to know what the fallout will be from a decision that hasn’t been acted upon yet. Don’t let that stop you. Some of the strongest character traits come from a place of mistakes, hurt, and lost opportunities. So, whatever you do, own your decision and don’t look back. Leave the past where it belongs and let those lessons learned shape you into a stronger, smarter, more compassionate, and self-aware individual.