Mastering Choices: Two Essential Questions for Decision Making

Photograph by Mark Pirtle

In my Project SkillfullyAware class, I often discuss free will and whether we have it. There is much debate on the subject. But based on the research of Kennon Sheldon, PhD, we do. We don't have perfectly free will. For example, I can't choose to fly, but I can decide how to finish this sentence.

Being able to choose is great, but it also means we are free to make bad decisions. Life is complicated. So, in terms of choosing what will make us happy, like picking the right career, studies also show that we aren't great at predicting whether our choices are the right ones. Many choose money and status over fulfillment, which is often correlated with unhappiness.

If you have a big decision to make and are unsure what to do, Sheldon suggests asking yourself these two questions. First, ask why you might want to do X? If it's because you find the choice fascinating and enjoyable, it likely aligns with your natural motivation (called intrinsic motivation).

Secondly, ask whether doing X is a heartfelt expression of your values and commitments. Answering yes to this question gets at what's called identified motivation (who you believe yourself to be).

No system of choosing is foolproof. But becoming more self-aware of your drives and values can help make the difficult task of making better choices easier. Wishing you the necessary wisdom to make better choices!

Wishing you health, happiness, and abundance,


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