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When you are making an important decision, how much of the decision is influenced by the direct consequences of the decision and how much of it is influenced by the indirect consequences of the decision?

For instance, if I'm deciding to take up a new job in a new country, the direct consequences of it are the effects of the decision on my career, on my learning, on where I live, etc. However, one of the indirect consequences are what I have to tell other people to justify my decision to them.

Quite often, we hesitate to make certain decisions because of a fear of not being able to convincingly explain the rationale behind our decision to others. Or because of a fear of being seen as going against a direction we had taken before or as reneging on a commitment we had made before.

Just as often, we feel that way because we know the full picture of our situation while those around us do not.

As a result, we tend to over-weight our decision on how others will perceive it rather than the merits of the decision alone.

How others perceive it has objective consequences to us, of course. So, it is not wrong to be considering them in our decision making process. However, we ought to invest in understanding what those consequences can be and whether we should be sufficiently influenced by that. Moreover, it is easier to educate these others on our decision making process rather than take as a given how they will perceive it.

We can all use a reminder now and then to not over-index our decisions on consequences that are potentially irrelevant, trivial or reversible.

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