BIG Decisions: Advice to a Friend

“Sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you make the decision right.”
— Phil McGraw

“Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice . . . and is never the result of selfishness.”
― Napoleon Hill

BIG Decisions: Advice to a Friend

David,* remember when I suggested you may be asking the wrong question? That’s when you asked if something was the right thing to do. (I suggested you might ask instead if you would end up happy if you took that route.)

(*names are always changed here for strict confidentiality)

As I think of your present struggle (this heavy, important decision you’re trying to make), I wonder if you’re considering the wrong options. I wonder whether you’re considering, not the wrong question, but the wrong fork in the road.

Could there be a completely different fork to consider?

Let me explain.

You seem to be choosing between staying or going. “Do I stay in this situation or do I go and pursue freedom?”

If you pause . . . zoom out, and assess this decision by looking at a different picture (or taking a broader perspective), doesn’t this dilemma compare with many other decisions in your life?


It seems this decision is like choosing between a path that’s uphill and a path that’s downhill.

The uphill path requires sustained effort, attention, and deliberate balance between self-focus and other-focus.

The downhill path affords you plenty of coasting, some effort (but only on pursuits that interest you), and certainly attention (but more on momentary decisions about short-term gain).

The downhill path affords you the freedom to focus primarily on you, what you care about, and what will ultimately benefit you.

What I’m trying to say is, instead of the specific decision of do I stay or do I go, maybe you can look at one of these bigger-picture decisions:

  1. do I take the difficult path or the easy path?
  2. do I focus on future satisfaction or immediate gratification?
  3. what’s more important to me: effectively relating with others or putting myself first?


Let’s shift for a minute from this “general perspective vs. specific situation” view and apply a familiar analogy.

Do you push through tough workouts by thinking of your long-term health, your muscle strength, and your improved stamina by completing those difficult (maybe painful) reps in your workout routine?

Or do you quit there, hit the shower, and enjoy the donuts that are ready and just waiting for you because it feels better (until the sugar high wanes and you crash)?

Zoom back out

Now let’s look again at a wider view instead of the immediate question of, do I stay or do I go.

Maybe it’s as simple as long-range payout vs. immediate gratification.

And after these different considerations (whether this is helpful to you or just turns it into a bigger burden), all of this, ultimately, is still YOUR decision.

No one will take it from you. No one will make it for you.

You’re still free to focus on the simpler, immediate decision between staying or going.

Or you can choose to complete the hardest reps and consider the bigger option: will I take the easy path or trudge the difficult road?


And once you’ve chosen that option, why will you have taken it? For others or for self?

(For deeper consideration: and if I make decisions for others, do I automatically lose?)



Who do you admire more?
   ☐ The guy who focuses primarily on himself?
   ☐ The one who completely sacrifices himself in the service of someone else?
   ☐ Or the man who effectively meets his own needs while focusing on the needs and happiness of others?

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