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MAK I N G YO U R M IND UP king Notes on decision ma ge between 'Decision is the brid n Yalom vi Ir ' n o ti c a d n a g in wish W H Y A R E S O M E D E CI S I O NS S O H A R D TO M A K E? In making challenging decisions, the feelings of the people closest to you often hang in the balance, as well as your own. The existential psychotherapist and author, Irvin Yalom, suggests that it's the process of decision making that is painful, not the content. In opting for one path over another, you come face to face with limitation, which reminds you on some level of your mortality - something you'd rather not think about. CR EATI V E L I V I NG Yalom also explains that making decisions also draws awareness to the fact that you are ultimately responsible for your own life. Everything you decide shapes your future. In fact, even when avoiding decisions, you are making a decision - to postpone deciding! Each choice you make plays its part in creating your life and Yalom proposes it is this 'sole responsibility' issue that causes anxiety. S E E K I NG CO NF I R M ATI O N People often seek to find someone else, or something else, such as a coin, to make difficult decisions for them. In doing so, you may miss the opportunity to explore the deeper implications of what you are facing, and to face up to your hidden fears. FIND YOUR BALA NCE When next faced with a difficult decision you might like to... ❶ Get in touch with your feelings and pinpoint what you are wishing for. If you can't locate your feelings about an issue, use fantasy to allow you to find greater clarity. Imagine the different paths you might take and then note what emotions these fantasies provoke. ❷ Explore the fears which each option holds. Hold each fear up to the light and ask how far it is removed from reality. ❸ Consider the benefits of each option. Try to be as exhaustive and honest as you possibly can. Elisa Fargeas, 25, London, sommelier 'The best decision I ever made was to take my backpack and travel the world. It was a super-easy decision to make, but it was quite impulsive.' Jose Ruigomez, 40, California, chef 'Moving to London when I was 20 years old was the best decision I've made in my life. I grew up in Mexico City. I sold my car and bought the first plane ticket leaving to Europe - it brought me over here.' ❹ Aurelie Vancoppenolle, 31, London, restaurant manager 'I came here with my ex-boyfriend, but the city makes you be who you really are, and I wasn't meant to be with him so he left. I work in hospitality so I have to be impulsive and make decisions really fast. I always follow my intuition.' Reframe the decision to help keep things in perspective, as sometimes we distort the significance of a decision in our minds. You might, for example, imagine what you would feel about this particular question if you were at the end of your life, looking back. ❺ Find out whether you can rearrange the options you've given yourself so you have less to lose. ❻ Michael-Jon Mizra, 25, Stratford, musician 'I try to break cycles that I think will be detrimental to me moving forward, especially with things that scare me. I'll think, "I wouldn't normally do this, but I want to do this, so I'm going to do it!"' Acknowledge that the really big, life-changing decisions usually require time. Sometimes it really does help to sleep on it! 13

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