A simple rule for making life choices

People approach life in different ways. Some see life as a game – something to play in, have fun with and compete in. Some see life as an optimization process, constantly working to strive towards some better/higher outcome. Some see it as a wild ride, chaotic and unpredictable, one just tries to stay alive and involved.

No matter how you approach life, there will be times when you are unsure of what to do next. I’m not saying where to go for lunch or what vendor to go with or what pair of shoes to buy. I’m talking about big decisions like deciding to move to another city, ask for a promotion, or quit smoking. Some times you are genuinely unsure of how to proceed.

Here are three questions you can ask yourself – they’ll help you understand what is the right thing to do next:

1) What are you most afraid of?

Often what you fear is secretly what you want most, but you’re just not ready to admit it. Take your fears seriously.

2) What is more difficult?

Getting ahead in life is hard. Something I’ve learned is that doing the harder thing will ultimately lead to the greatest returns. Completing easy things begets weak gains.

3) What will get moving forward faster?

Sometimes you get stuck. The best thing to do in those situations is find easy wins to give you momentum and energy to move forward.

Next time you are at a loss for what to do – ask yourself these questions. They’ll bring some clarity and a new perspective to your thinking.

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Jason Shen

Jason is a tech entrepreneur and advocate for Asian American men. He's written extensively and spoken all over the world about how individuals and organizations develop their competitive advantage. Follow him at @jasonshen.

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