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Right Vs. Wrong: The Key To The Complexity Of Decision Making

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Have you ever been completely torn by something? Needing to make a decision between what’s right and what’s wrong? Between what you want and what’s best for you? An inner struggle like this can be all consuming, which ultimately makes the decision more difficult.

I’ve encountered this problem more than I wish I have in my very short lifetime, and now it seems as if a multitude of people in my life are dealing with the same struggle in various different situations. Sometimes I think that there is something that we’re doing wrong in this inefficient process of weight out pro's and con's. We’re being selfish, or we’re being reckless, or we’re just not thinking clearly.

I mean, think about it. We were all taught at a very young age what the difference between right and wrong is. The right path and the right answer is right in front of us, so why can’t we just follow that path? Whenever I find myself in a situation such as this I always blame myself for my indecisiveness and misinterpretation of the information I need to base my choice around.

I tell myself I’m being stupid, I’m not looking at the big picture. I try to convince myself, through the amount of negativity that has the possibility of arising, to make the decision I know would best benefit everyone. I try to train myself to know what’s right and what’s wrong before I even come to a crossroads. But is there a way to prevent such a thing?

Can we train ourselves to realize what’s best for us and what’s best for others so we don’t spend so much time struggling with what to do? In my perfect world that would be the case, but unfortunately, it’s not. The truth is we will never automatically know what’s right and wrong.

Yes, we’ve been taught the fundamentals of right and wrong over and over again, but do those fundamentals apply to everything? They don’t. We don’t know what the outcome of our decisions will be. Sometimes the outcome is instantaneous and sometimes side effects from our decisions come back to haunt us years down the line.

Forget thinking about yourself for a second, how will the decisions you make affect those around you? How can we prepare for such an unknown outcome? We can’t, and I think that’s what makes making the right decisions so difficult: not knowing if it’s actually the right decision.

So now that we’ve realized that there is no clear answer, what do we do? Is there even anything we CAN do? My best advice is to take a chance. One of my favorite authors, Lewis Carroll, wrote in one of my favorite books a segment that would become my mantra:

‘One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take? She asked. “Where do you want to go?” was his response. “I don’t know.,” Alice answered. “Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”’

The Cheshire cat was right. Is there even a clear-cut definition of what’s right and what’s wrong? I don’t really think there is. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which path you choose to take. Fate will take its own course and whatever happens will happen. You can’t force someone to make a decision, you can’t expect that a decision you make will lead another in the right path and you certainly can’t control all the factors that will contribute to the outcome of your decision.

Grappling with a decision on what to do does nothing for you, because life is full of decisions that need to be made. As much as you think that there is a brick wall at the end of a road stopping you, there isn’t. There are always going to be forks in the road with Cheshire cats in trees because the road is never ending. Hold comfort in the fact that each path will at least bring you somewhere, and that’s all you can really ask for.

Ally | Elite. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images