There are infinite choices that we’re making all day long and trying to apply some rule to all these choices is difficult. These rules don’t apply to everything. Be intelligent when to use them.
1. When faced with a difficult choice, if you cannot decide, the answer is no.
Some decisions can be really long lived. It’s really important to only say yes when you’re pretty certain. You’re never gonna be absolutely certain, but you can be very positive. If you find yourself with a spreadsheet of pro’s and cons, forget it.
2. If you have 2 choices to make, and they’re relatively equal difficulty (50-50), take the path that is more difficult and more painful in the short term.
One of these paths require short term pain and the other one may require pain further out in the future. What the brain is doing through conflict avoidance is trying to push out the short term pain. And by definition, if the two are even and one has short term pain, it means it has long term gain. And by the law of compound interest, the long term gain is where you want to go to anyway. So your brain is over-valuing the side that has short term happiness and trying to avoid short term pain. You have to cancel that tendency out and it’s a powerful subconscious tendency by leaning into the pain. Most of the gains in life come suffering in the short term, so you can get gain in the long term. (Ex. working out, confused while reading a book). Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.
3. Make the choice that will leave you more equanimous (calmer and peaceful) in the long term.
Peace of mind is the precursor to happiness. Happiness cannot be chased directly. If you’re chasing happiness directly, what you’re actually chasing is pleasure and pleasure comes with a withdrawal symptom. Pleasure is a high and then you crash down. Pleasure is a Ferris wheel, you get on and ride it up and eventually you ride it back down. If you actually want to be happy, if you want to be content, that comes from peace.