How to Make Difficult Decisions
How to Make Difficult Decisions
  • Reporter Kwon Na-eun
  • 승인 2014.09.25 20:09
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Life is a series of choices and for every choice someone makes, there are consequences. Among the many decisions people make, some seriously affect their future. These are usually considered difficult decisions. People ought to know how to make good decisions when faced with difficult choices. The Postech Times interviewed Professor Jin W. Lee (HSS) about how to make difficult decisions.

What Is a Difficult Decision?
Before starting to learn about how to make difficult decisions, people need to know what a “difficult” decision is. Prof. Lee said if it is too light, something like choosing between chicken and pizza for lunch, it is not a difficult decision. Moreover, if it is too oppressive, it is not difficult too. He defined a difficult decision as a decision someone has to make when he or she is in a dilemmatic situation in life. Dilemmatic situation means that there exists opportunity cost for each side. It should also have an important meaning in life. For example, let us say a woman is considering a marriage with her boyfriend. If she holds a conviction that she will be happy, this will not be a difficult decision for her. Nonetheless, if she wants to achieve success in her career and is worried about not being able to achieve it because of her marriage, marriage will be a very difficult decision for her. Similarly, in a career, some people have trouble choosing between high salaries with less free time and low salaries with more free time.

How to Make Good Decisions
Then, how can people make good decisions? Prof. Lee explained that when people have to make a difficult decision, they should try to keep distance from themselves. By this he means imagining themselves from their future views. They should consider what their future will be like if they make a certain decision, considering they will live with the decision 10, 20, and 30 years later. He gave an instance from his experience. He majored in German and minored in Philosophy for his graduate school in Germany. He knew he would be a well-known professor if he finished his degree in German, but he started to love studying philosophy and his professor offered to help if he changed the major. He tried to imagine his life after ten years. If he had become a professor in German, he would have to spend his time translating German books. Instead, if he became a professor in Philosophy, he may not be able to be famous, but he would be able to fulfill his academic curiosity. Therefore, he chose to change his major and he said he has never regretted the decision.

Decisions of Postechians
In sum, if people are in a dilemmatic situation connected to their lives, they have to make a difficult decision. In order to choose the best way, they should try to imagine themselves from their future lives and think which would not leave them with any regrets. Last but not least, Prof. Lee advised Postechians to think about which things they value most in life. He said despite of what others might say they should clearly decide which value(s) they want to keep throughout their life.