What Exactly *Is* a Difficult Decision?

After work today I had on my to-do list to complete a set of short-answer questions. One of the prompts was - what is a “difficult decision” I had to make at my job? I had no idea how to answer this, because I didn’t really know what qualified as a difficult decision.

After prowling reddit, going through 5 pages of google, and reading various articles, I have come to some conclusions, that I will now share with you.

At the core of a difficult decision is opting into a painful change.

Painful changes can hurt in a few ways. The change can bring on social ire, it can involve taking on risk, or it can involve accepting a painful truth.

Common instances of bringing on social ire, would be maintaining a friendship in the face of the “cool kids”. Another might be flying in the face of organizational doctrine or causing difficult workload on your coworkers, so that engineering standards can be upheld.

Common instances of taking on risk, might be quitting a stable job, or betting on yourself to be able to complete a perilous task, such as raising a kid who isn’t yours’.

Common instances of accepting a painful truth, might be breaking up with a girlfriend, or taking a parent off of life support. These can be violent.

Some difficult decisions involve continued commitment to the decision, while some involve taking a path that cannot be untread. Both can be hard.

I personally don’t make difficult decisions well, I try to wait a while until they might become easier. However, making difficult decisions well is part of being an adult, and so I think it is on me to identify the difficult decisions I will have to make as such, and then bask in the challenge of choosing a decision, instead of choosing to wait.

Written on October 4, 2021