As I was thinking about this question, I realized it can be applied to a fairly great ammount of decisions and choices I made throughout my life. Most of those choices were not even nearly relevant to me to start pondering the question from the title; when it comes to everyday decision-making I tend to act by the motto of: "Yeah, why not?", and that seems to be enough.

But what about "big" life decisions? Let's say I want to pursue a PhD. I mean, who wouldn't want a PhD, right? :D. But do I really want a PhD or does the idea of having a PhD sound cool and good to me? Having my beforementioned "motto" in mind, one could argue that I should certainly pursue a PhD just because it is one of options that life gives me: "A PhD? Well, sure! Why not?". But "why not" logic simply can't be applied to those big life choices. They are not a walk in the park.

Maybe an even better example is this: let's say I decided to pursue a PhD abroad. But do I really want to do a PhD on some pretentious foreign University or does that idea just sound good to me? I mean, it is not like I need to go abroad to earn a PhD. I can make a perfectly good disertation at my home University. But nonetheless, earning a PhD at Cambridge, for example, sounds very appealing.

It came to my mind that a big ammount of my desires stem from my insecurities, too.

I'm confused.

Your thoughts, please

asked 01 May '18, 14:16

Marin's gravatar image


Hi @Marin here's a very simple test that I use ... if I'm talking myself "into" doing something, trying to find reasons why I should do it, trying to convince myself to do it then it's not for me ... however if I'm talking myself "out" of doing something, searching to find excuses not to do it then it's most certainly for me :)

(22 Jun '19, 02:18) jaz

Hi @jaz even though this approach can't be applied to every situation, it's interesting. I'll definitely give it some thought. Thanks

(22 Jun '19, 04:14) Marin
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ask yourself WHY. WHY do you want to have a PHD? or maybe an easier question - what is your end goal (what are you doing it for?)


answered 01 May '18, 18:40

myself's gravatar image


@myself I just now realized that maybe my dilemma in this question is false! Maybe I don't need to know the answer to this question. I mean, either way, I am obviously attracted to the idea of that something. And maybe one way how to handle this situation would be to simply ask "why?", as you said. That way, maybe I can just list the pros and cons of the thing I want and make a choice from there.

(22 Jun '19, 04:40) Marin

You don't.

But if you like something, it's the closest you have gotten right now to what you want- and that's good enough to work with it.

For example, it used to be really important to me to get a lot of attention from women.

Later I realized that was just a band-aid for a particular set of complexes- and boy were they a relief to get rid of.

Thing is, all this fantasizing about being some kind of universally irresistible superman actually helped. It satisfied the immediate craving for approval, and it represented to me within my belief system at the time what I really wanted: Harmony.

What's interesting is that the harmony started manifesting even while I was still visualizing the band-aid- but I didn't get any inspiration to act on the band-aid, just on the harmony.


answered 11 May '18, 03:49

cmc's gravatar image


@cmc hmm I understand, and it totally makes sense. But it is very risky, I'd say. It can potentially bring much (unneeded?) suffering. For example, this PhD situation - everyone knows that the process of earning a PhD is one of the biggest challenges in one's life - financially, healthwise, social life-wise, etc. Should one really go through all that only to find out that it was actually a band-aid for something else in the end? I'd rather skip all the suffering part, thank you.

(22 Jun '19, 04:27) Marin

Thanks for your contribution, it's definitely very interesting and I see the practical value of it.

(22 Jun '19, 04:29) Marin

@Marin Don't do thing to get more clarity, visualize having done the thing.

(23 Jun '19, 14:35) cmc
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T is more blessed to give than to receive. The Buddhist Monk Matthieu Ricard focused on Loving Others (Altruism) and his brain has high levels of gamma brainwaves and happiness.

Thinking "me, me, me" all the time is selfish and leads to unhappiness and obsession and worries about self.


answered 04 Aug '19, 11:38

arpgme's gravatar image


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