Have you had to make a difficult choice? Like me, you are probably making many difficult choices. How do you make hard choices? How do you know if you made a good choice? Wouldn’t it be great to know ahead of time how choices would work? As Ruth Chang explains in her thought provoking presentation, we generally think if we can’t make a choice, we must not be smart enough. Ruth Chang suggests this is not true because values make choices difficult. She also suggests it is our values, not scientific analysis that enables us to make better choices.
Options of better, worse or equal are not enough because values give us additional ways to think about our choices. Instead of choosing between right or wrong answers, she explains we should instead create reasons for a choice. Creating reaons helps us become who we are or who we want to be. By creating reasons for a choice, we become authors of our life. If we make hard choices based on reasons of others, this means we are letting others define who we are. Hard choices allow us to make a choice about what we are for, what we want to stand for and what we represent. In other words, we can create ourselves through our hard choices.
In making hard choices it is important to think about more than the impact of the here and now. As with Selfish, Selfless, Synergy, it is vital we think of the pervasive systemic affects of our choices. Do choices we make set us up to be a role model for others, is that important to us. Our choices decidedly tell others what we stand for and what we are against. In a seminar I heard what for me is a guiding quote because it says what we choose to do with our limited resources explains to others what is most important to us.
“Economics is value system masquerading as mathematics.”
I encourage you to listen to Ruth Chang’s presentation and think about how you can use hard choices to decide what you want to be for and who you want to become. This reminds me of a saying I heard attributed to Mother Teresa. The story explains that she declined to be in march against the war. She is reported to have said she would not be in a march against the war because what you are against is disempowering and what you are for is empowering. She said she wanted to be for peace, not against war. I encourage you to empower yourself with hard choices that allow you to decide what you want to be for, not what you are against. I look forward to hearing about your success!