Hard Decisions

This is something worth noticing.  Whenever you hear somebody talking about making difficult or hard decisions, what they often mean is that they had to make a decision that they knew, in their heart of hearts, was wrong.

Sometimes, that’s because the right solution wasn’t available to them, or not even considered, but quite often it’s because they made a choice that went against the direction of their internal moral compass or their intuition, or it involved some known and highly uncomfortable compromise.

Poor old Kalashnikov, at the end of his life, sought absolution from the church for bringing a weapon into existence that killed so many innocents, but at the root of the suffering in his soul was the certain knowledge that he had, in fact, made the wrong choice.  He knew it, instinctively.  No cardinal could absolve him of that.  It’s a very sad consequence of making a difficult choice.

Deciding to do the right thing, in contrast, is rarely difficult or hard.  They’re usually the fastest decisions to make, too.  People have been known to make them in an instant, in emergencies.

Making the right decision, that sits comfortably with you and leaves you in peace, is usually comparatively easy.

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About tropicaltheartist

You can find out more about me here: https://michaeltopic.wordpress.com/. There aren’t many people that exist in that conjunction of art, design, science and engineering, but this is where I live. I am an artist, a musician, a designer, a creator, a scientist, a technologist, an innovator and an engineer and I have a genuine, deep passion for each field. Most importantly, I am able to see the connections and similarities between each field of intellectual endeavour and apply the lessons I learn in one discipline to my other disciplines. To me, they are all part of the same continuum of creativity. I write about what I know, through my blogs, in the hope that something I write will resonate with a reader and help them enjoy their own creative life more fully. I am, in summary, a highly creative individual, but with the ability to get things done efficiently. Not all of these skills are valued by the world at large, but I am who I am and this is me. The opinions stated here are my own and not necessarily the opinion or position of my employer.
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10 Responses to Hard Decisions

  1. I don’t agree with you here . Sometimes life is very difficult, and some decisions are very hard to make. They need courage. Life sometimes sets you up with impossible choices, and living with that tension, making the hard decision and accepting the grief or pain that comes with it, is part of life, of experience, of developing character and gravitas.

  2. How so Michael? Your last paragraphs say:
    “Deciding to do the right thing, in contrast, is rarely difficult or hard. They’re usually the fastest decisions to make, too. People have been known to make them in an instant, in emergencies.Making the right decision, that sits comfortably with you and leaves you in peace, is usually comparatively easy.”

    Maybe I’ve missed your point but you seemed to be saying that decisions are only difficult because people know deep down they are making the wrong decision.: Isn’t it what this says :

    “Whenever you hear somebody talking about making difficult or hard decisions, what they often mean is that they had to make a decision that they knew, in their heart of hearts, was wrong”

    As I replied, i don’t agree. But maybe I’ve missed your point

    • What I am trying (and evidently failing) to explain is that the decision you are concerned about becomes hard because it goes against the grain, because it is a decision based on limited, less than ideal choices, because that’s all you’ve got as options. It means the ideal choice isn’t there for you to take, but if it were, the decision would be easy. Do you follow what I mean? It would be an easy choice, because it is the right choice, but in some circumstances that choice simply isn’t on the menu.

      • mmmm….isn’t life full of limited, less than ideal choices? That’s what makes it hard. Sometimes I have to choose based on limited information, or one choice gives me A,C,D, and F of things I need, and another choice gives me A,B, E and G. I then have to decide whether C,D, and F are more important than B, E and G…or if I won’t make a decision at all if I can’t have A,B, C, D. But what if I have to make a decision, say because of economic imperatives, or health? I guess I find your comment “It means the ideal choice isn’t there for you to take, but if it were, the decision would be easy”, a very moot point. Of course a decision is easy if the ideal choice is there for you.

  3. jlcmom says:

    What I’m thinking is: who decides what the “right” decision is vs. the “wrong” decision? Ok, certain things we could all agree on. But what happens when the decision that feels right in my heart, conflicts with what another family member, for example, thinks is “right”? When it’s just a personal matter of how someone chooses to spend their time or live their life? Who gets to decide? So if a decision feels totally right in my heart, but I know it will upset someone I care about? That’s difficult.

    • I submit that if that’s the case, then no it doesn’t feel totally right in your heart, because you know that hurting somebody you love will be wrong.

      • jlcmom says:

        Let me give you a real example. A person close to me left her husband and now is with another guy. This other guy has a history of sexual abuse of a minor. His energy is domineering, competitive and aggressive. She is happy with him. I do not feel comfortable having a relationship with him or having him around my daughters. So she is angry and thinks I am judging her. I am totally fine with her making her own decisions about her life, but I feel I need to follow my instincts. Am I making a “bad” decision because I am hurting someone I love?

      • Your decision is hard because both choices leave you feeling that something is wrong. If those are your only options, then both are wrong, though for different reasons. I understand you may not have other solutions that feel more right and I don’t know your exact circumstances, but I suggest there may be some value in spending time searching for an alternative solution that feels more right. You’ll know it if you find it and it will be the obvious choice, I conjecture .

      • jlcmom says:

        In large part because of this experience, I have concluded that thinking in terms of right and wrong just plain doesn’t work. This blog post probably helps to explain, but for me I can decide what works best for me, based on my own inner knowing and heart, but what I cannot assume what works for me will be the same that works for another. We can discuss all day what to label right or wrong, but that’s a pointless exercise. Is it kind? is it compassionate? is it honest? can I communicate that? what makes things difficult, is that not everyone is at the same place or operating under the same set of assumptions.

        I totally agree with the basic idea — if it feels wrong, then there is something there that you need to examine. But there are times when you cannot please everyone.

        I have spent more time than you can ever imagine thinking this through…..it just ain’t that simple.

        http://meaningofstrife.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/my-state-of-being/

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