A Stanford professor says the 'gun test' can help you make big decisions
You can drive yourself crazy deciding whether to attend grad school, take a job offer, or marry your partner.
According to Roth, everyone always knows the answer."Even if they do not ultimately take that path, this exercise usually releases the pressure built up around the decision-making process and gets them closer to a resolution," he writes.In other words, the point isn't so much to choose as to realize that you can choose - and that you'll feel so much better afterward.
Another strategy Roth relies on is the "life's journey method." When a student is vacillating between two possible paths, he asks the student to pick one of the choices and then imagine what life would look like as a result.
In the book, he uses the example of a master's student deciding whether to enroll in a Ph.D. program. The student realizes that if she enrolls, she'll graduate and get a job in academia; get married and buy a house; have kids; raise the kids; get older and die.If she doesn't enroll, she'll get a job in the industry or start a company; make a lot of money; get married and buy a house; have and raise kids; get older and die.
"The point of this," Roth writes, "is to get people to realize that there is no way to know where a decision will lead."
The best way to move forward, he says, is to demonstrate a "bias toward action" and not to be afraid of failure.These two concepts are key to a strategy called "design thinking," which Roth says can help solve any problem - from how to build a better lightbulb to how to lose weight.
Roth writes: "I believe it serves people best in life to accept that decisions are part of the process of moving forward and that there are so many variables that it's a waste of time to try to see the endgame."
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