Life is filled with choices. From the smaller daily choices we make, such as what to order at our favorite restaurant, to bigger decisions, such as choosing between two job opportunities or weighing a career move versus starting a family, we are all constantly making choices.
These decisions underline the fact that no one can have it all in life. There are going to be things that you want but do not get because you chose something else. This is not a bad thing, but having to choose between different options is not necessarily easy. Accepting that the things you want in life are a trade off and feeling confident that you are making the right decision can help make these trade offs easier.
Choosing What to Keep and What to Give Up
When confronted with a decision, one of the most difficult parts is knowing that you cannot have both options. This can even ruin the joy of pursuing a great opportunity or getting something that you were excited about because worrying over what you did not get frames your decision in a negative light.
Instead of focusing on what you lost out on which, which can ruin a decision that is the right one, by reframing your decisions as a positive trade, you will be happier with less anxiety over your choices:
- Know Your Goals in Advance – If you have clearly defined short term and long term goals for yourself, making any decision involves simply identifying which choice better aligns with those goals. Because you are working towards your goals, your trade offs become more worthwhile.
- Focus on the Present – If you feel like you have given something up or if you are continuously looking back and regretting an option that you did not take, remind yourself to focus on what you currently have. You cannot change a decision in the past, so it is better to spend your energy thinking about the present and future options.
- Name the Positives – By actively identifying the positive aspects of what you currently have, it will be easier to see why you initially made the choice and trade off that you did so that you can feel more confident about that decision.
Many times the choices you have to make can be fraught with questions and regret, but if you go through life knowing and accepting that you will not get everything you want, it will be significantly easier to enjoy what you do get and to use that to its greatest advantage.