How do you make hard choices?

So much of me has changed since I entered adulthood. My career, my interests, my abilities. And some of these changes have put me before some of the hardest decisions of my life. Like choosing to put my career on hold to raise my daughters. Or shifting my practice to literacy and dyslexia remediation when I became brave enough to admit my own struggle with dyslexia.

But before making those hard choices, I felt caught between what I ought to do and what I want to do. And sometimes this tension became so great that I had to make concrete changes to find peace.

Changing careers, changing partners, changing schools, changing where we live…those are all hard choices. So what governs our decisions? In Ruth Chang’s TED talk “How to make hard choices”, Chang fleshes out how we weigh the pros and cons and how culture influences this. Chang argues that hard choices are precious opportunities that show us that we have the power to become the individuals we desire to be.

See also Let’s make some Let’s make some comparisons.

Pre discussion

  • What major life changes can you share?
  • What were the options? Between what and what were you choosing?
  • How have the changes influenced your life?

The video: Ruth Chang: How to make hard choices

  • Do a Tell Back of Chang’s main points
  • What is the difference between scientific thinking and value-based decision making?
  • Why do you think Chang studies the phenomenon of hard choices?
  • How does this shed light on your own hard choices?

2 thoughts on “How do you make hard choices?”

  1. Now, if there s no best option, if the scales don t tip in favor of one alternative over another, then surely the alternatives must be equally good. So maybe the right thing to say in hard choices is that they re between equally good options. But that can t be right. If alternatives are equally good, you should just flip a coin between them, and it seems a mistake to think, here s how you should decide between careers, places to live, people to marry: Flip a coin.

    1. I guess you’re right, but I don’t think I have ever been confronted with truly equal options. Thanks for chiming in.

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