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Must Read: How to make hard choices

  1. Jul 2, 2014 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2014 #2
    One of the greatest forum thread I have ever read. What has helpwd me throught life to make difficult choices is Karl Marxs quote, "Men make destiny but not of their choosing". It explains how certain elements in our life are preordained such as ethnicity, name, and social status. Therefore humans have to work with what they have.

    Tolstoy is also great and so is Machiavelli.
  4. Jul 2, 2014 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    Interesting talk, it identified the nature of a hard choice but without guidance on how to work your way out of it other than to make reasons for and against until it becomes clear.

    In the past, we have used the I Ching to decide on some major issues on rare occasions and it has helped immensely.

    Most people may view the I Ching as a Chinese fortune telling book however its more of a compass giving you a direction and different way to look at a situation that can lead to a workable answer at the very least it gets you to move and from the new vantage point you can see things differently.

    In a sense, the I Ching is a fancy coin toss mechanism for when you just cant decide or are afraid to decide.

    Your mileage may vary.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  5. Jul 4, 2014 #4


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    I would like to add one thing: If, after a full deliberation of all the options one still cannot decide between them on a rational level (e.g., because they are all equally good/meh/bad, or have unforeseeable consequences), then an *actual* coin toss/dice roll/etc. is a perfectly reasonable way of deciding. Even for the most important life choices. And, who knows? Maybe there even is a non-rational power which means you well, and this gives it the means to help you.
  6. Jul 4, 2014 #5


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    She seemed to reach the conclusion that people agonize over hard choices because they are looking for a correct answer where there isn't one, and that people feel stupid for not being able to find one.

    Personally, I think that doesn't give the person faced with the hard choice too much credit.

    It seems to me that a lot of people are very well aware that there is no "right" answer in such circumstances. Often I see people agonizing because of the weight of the choice itself. Big life choices often warrant the stress they invoke so that we will spend time deliberating and examining the choice from many different angles, and seek advice, and yes, even look back on it after it's been made. Allowing ourselves to conclude that there is no right answer is difficult, particularly for science-minded-types, because it stems from an inductive process and agonizing over an issue is the only way to pass a threshold from which a conclusion can be allowed.
  7. Jul 4, 2014 #6


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    There are times when making some decision is more important than what the decision is. If it turns out to be a bad decision, you can always fix that later on.

    If something like the I Ching helps you get to the point of deciding on some course of action, then it is useful.

    A nice example was one of my friends at university, who couldn't decide between three girlfriends. One night in the bar he decided to toss a coin, with the three possible outcomes of heads, tails, and standing on its edge. The coin rolled across the floor and stopped almost vertical against the edge of the bar. Last time I heard from him, his wife's nickname was still "edges", and he had been happily married for more than 30 years.

    The video's comment about these decisions defining "what sort of person you want to be" doesn't seem helpful at all. After all, if high school kids already knew whether they really really wanted to be professional sportsmen/women or astronauts, they wouldn't be agonizing over an impossibly hard choice!
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  8. Jul 12, 2014 #7
  9. Jul 31, 2014 #8


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    Sounds like a linear program problem to me
  10. Sep 4, 2014 #9
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