Sometimes when confronted with different options, there's more than one right choice. Quit agonizing over the idea that there's a single correct decision.
Baseball legend and master of the one liner Yogi Berra gets credit for the title of this article. His quips were usually funny and often grounded in truth. This one in particular has stuck with me for its truth. Let me explain…
Exams in law school often involve gray areas; there is often more than one correct answer. For that reason, professors are often less concerned with a student’s conclusion than with their logic. I had a professor once say “How you get there is more important than where you end up.”
Basically, he was saying that he wanted to see and understand the arguments being made. Were they sound, logical and based in precedent? Did they apply the facts of the question well? In other words, in the situation with multiple correct answers, the steps taken to arrive at any answer were more important than the conclusion itself. The exact same principle is true in life. Often, we get so hung up on making the “right” choice, that we lose sight of the journey itself.
There is a myth that suggests that we have only one destiny. Only one perfect match in love. Only one perfect career. Only one perfect place to live. We’d like to believe that if we find this elusive “one” that life will then be perfect. As a result of this mindset, many people are constantly looking ahead to the day that they have all those perfect matches and life somehow reaches an ideal state. With few exceptions, most people don’t reach that state of idealism because they’ve boiled it down to a handful of idealized “ones.”
The reality is, there are an infinite number of right decisions. There are many perfect careers and places to live. What matters is the path you take to get there and what you learn in the process. When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
I was once confronted with a choice between two jobs, one that would move my family to Kansas City, Missouri and the other back home to Portland, Oregon. Both were good companies with comparable salaries and benefits. Both were in desirable cities where I could comfortably raise my children. As I agonized over the decision, it dawned on me that both choices could be equally right. There wasn’t a “wrong” choice! My family could build a great life either way. The idea was liberating in a way as it allowed me to go with my gut and we ultimately made the decision to move back home to the Portland area.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you weigh the options and make that final choice:
Your long term goals likely require skillsets, resources and information that you currently don’t have. Does one option take you closer to your goals than the others?
Does one side have a much longer list of benefits than the other?
What results from making one decision over another? What are the short and long term consequences?
After going through this exercise and no single option stands out, it’s time to realize the truth of this article and understand that there simply isn’t a wrong answer. There is no “one” choice that will lead you to that perfect life. So, take a breath, close your eyes and jump in. Go with your gut. Remember Yogi Berra’s words and when you come to a fork in the road, take it.