David Louis Edelman David Louis Edelman

Making Choices

Here’s something I wrote several years ago while facing the most difficult decision of my life. I felt crushed by the burden of choosing between two alternatives that seemed equally horrible at the time. So I sat and scribbled this on a yellow legal pad. It seemed to flow like a Socratic dialogue, building from my own narrow circumstances to a larger and more comprehensive theory of how to live.

Is this applicable to every choice one might face? No. I’m not sure I would want Charles Manson or Osama bin Laden following this decision-making process. But it helped give me the courage to decide what I needed to decide.

  • People will always give you differing opinions on which choice you should make.
  • People will always give you opposing opinions about what choice you should make.
  • There are always convincing arguments for more than one choice.
  • You will never completely know if you made the right choice.
  • Someone will always feel you made the wrong choice.
  • Some people may hate you or attribute bad motives to you for whatever choice you make.
  • You will often want to straddle the fence and avoid making a choice, but that’s usually not possible.
  • Not all choices have a “right” or “wrong” answer.
  • Choosing enables you to live the life that you want.
  • Any choice can be “right” or “wrong” depending how you treat them.
  • What you choose is not as important as how you choose and what you do with your choice.
  • You can live with any choice you make.
  • You can take responsibility for any choice you make.
  • Nobody but you can completely know what to choose.
  • Making a choice is an act of will that shapes your life to your dimensions.
  • Everyone inevitably makes “wrong” choices sometimes, and that’s okay.
  • You are the choices you make in life.
  • Your future is not set in stone, it is determined by the choices you make.

‘Nuff said.

Comments RSS Feed

  1. Fredrik on September 4, 2007 at 4:46 pm  Chain link


    Came across your list after random googling in a time of crisis. Thank you, it helped me a lot.

  2. David Louis Edelman on September 4, 2007 at 4:55 pm  Chain link

    I’m really glad to know this helped you, Fredrik. I think this is the most important thing I’ve learned in my adult life so far, and I’m happy if it helps someone else get through their own crises.

  3. anna on August 24, 2008 at 9:02 am  Chain link

    What do you think is more important in making life choices; emotion or motivation?

  4. David Louis Edelman on August 24, 2008 at 11:40 am  Chain link

    anna: Not sure how to answer that one. I generally tend to think that emotions are unreliable. That doesn’t mean they’re useless in making decisions, but they’re low on the totem pole. As for motivation, I suppose it depends what’s inspiring your motivations. You can have motivations that are inspired by lust, or fear, or greed, and those aren’t always the motivations you should follow.

  5. ezeofor ifesinachi on January 17, 2010 at 9:33 am  Chain link

    the choices we make don`t fail us is the selections we make

  6. Kristin on March 10, 2010 at 2:03 pm  Chain link

    I really needed something like this. God bless google and you!
    Thanks a bunch.

  7. Kelsey on June 8, 2010 at 4:11 pm  Chain link

    im trying to write an essayd on life choice. what do you think are the ket 3 things that affect you making decisons or choices.

  8. elijah omeka on June 11, 2010 at 1:20 pm  Chain link

    life determines by the choice you made and either positive or narrative.

  9. Nadya on July 21, 2010 at 9:18 am  Chain link


    Like you, I’m also at one of those points in my life where some choices need to be made. I dont know how I’ll feel tomorrow, but right now I feel reassured that whatever it is that I decide will be right and good for me in the end. Thank you. This list is a feel good-er (lack of a better word).

    Nadya from Islamabad!

  10. veronica on August 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm  Chain link

    I would say that you need to be careful with the choices that you make because they can get you in big trouble.

  11. Fifa 16 key fifa2016crack.blogspot.com on January 14, 2016 at 10:39 am  Chain link

    Historically most of the companies who dangle the bodyguard job or bodyguard job Iraq carrot never last. Their bodyguard job offer usually consists of a one night shift as a night club bouncer, or even worse as a 1 day shift following a ‘paid surveillance mark around a town centre.’

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