There have been various tidbits that I picked up on during my first year in business school which affected my thinking. One of them which I’d like to share with you came from a professor at Stanford who accompanied us on a study trip to China.
He was sharing with us the story of how he married his wife. He grew up in India and his family was very open minded with regards to dating. He was allowed to date and the family didn’t put pressure on him to have an arranged married. Yet while his brothers found their wives through regular dating, he decided to have an such an arranged marriage. And years later, he considers himself happily married and in love with his wife.
His key philosophy behind his successful marriage? It’s not about making the right decision, it’s about making the decision right. Make sure to read this line again. And again.
What he is saying is that when you are faced with different options and you have to make a decision, it’s less a matter of what you decide (making the right decision), but more a matter how you act/show up/behave after the decision was made (making the decision right). A question of how much you want it to work out and the effort you put to make it work out. In his case, it was less a matter of how gets married, but more a matter of what he makes with that marriage.
I find this perspective carries a lot of truth and importance. Especially in the context of all the decisions we need to take in life. Best example out of my own life: my upcoming decision what to do professionally after graduation next summer. For better or for worse, I will have a lot of options to choose from. Chances are I will work out multiple offers and end up having to make a decision among them.
And as I know myself, that’s something that will paralyze me. I will struggle to make the “perfect" decision. I will probably take to tens of people and write uncountable lists of pros and cons. And while all that due diligence is not to be dismissed, there is much more importance to be put on what I do after I choose one of the options available to me.
Think about it: it will all come down to what I do with it. I can choose the “best” option, yet ruin it by showing up with a negative attitude, not taking it seriously, or consider it a waste of my time. Alternatively, I could be choosing the “worst" option, and show up each dinner with a winner attitude, put all my effort into my job, and see it as my golden ticket. It’s more a question of what attitude I show up with and how I truly make it a golden opportunity, than a matter of “choosing the right opportunity.”
Keep that in mind the next time you are deciding between various options and you put too much pressure on yourself about making the right decision.