How to Make Really Difficult, Life Changing Decisions

Lance Ng
4 min readApr 15, 2019

Two methods I use to make decisions that can change my life forever — one based on logic, the other using intuition.

We’ve all been there. Quit my job? Marry him/her? Buy this house? Pursue my dreams? Invest my savings?

Big decisions are never easy. We mull over personal circumstances — finances, family obligations, commitments etc. We doubt our own feelings, analyze, seek advice…over and over; all in the hope of making the right choice.

At the end of the day, life is complicated. But we should try to simplify it as much as we can, not least because it gives us clarity and peace of mind.

Here’s how I do it.

The decision matrix

When choices can be weighed against two or more criteria, I use a simple method to quantify the pros and cons. I scribble a simple scorecard on a piece of paper based on the possibilities and my desired outcomes.

A simple table listing all the options and consideration factors makes it easy to tally the pros and cons of the choices. Even if one choice doesn’t clearly come out on top, the process forces you to think about what is important to you in terms of priorities and how each option stacks up. At the very least, it helps you to eliminate bad choices.

Sometimes there aren’t clear negative or positive impacts to the factors being considered. Sometimes they carry potentials of varying degrees. In such situations I rank them from lowest to highest potential with a simple score range — 1 to 3 or 1 to 5.

The decision matrix method may seem like common sense but you’ll be surprised by how much it helps to clear the cloud in your head once you sit down and scribble it out.

The key to this process is to be truly honest with yourself about what matters and keep the scoring system as simple as possible. Once you’ve added up the scores, the…

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