Have you ever faced a life choice and just didn’t know what to do? 

For years, I had one nag me like an overdue library book. 

In an effort to find the answer to my problem, I asked everyone. What do you think? What would you do?

Each answer satisfied me like a puffed rice cake with a thin smear of peanut butter.

No one had a good answer because there wasn’t one. It was that kind of tricky question only you can solve. But since my gut had as much insight as my thumb, I still asked. 

One response stood out from the rest.

Instead of repeating the “do what makes you happy” and “only you can decide” call and response that had become part of my subconscious like the intro to Pinky and the Brain, when I once again spilled my guts to a trusted mentor, she said something different. 

“When things haven’t gone your way or you’ve been in a tough situation, what did you do?”

I said that I tried to fix things, or if I couldn’t entirely fix it, I’d try to improve the situation somehow. 

“That’s what I thought,” she said. “So if you were unhappy with your decision, would you do something about it or just be unhappy?”

I would do something, of course. 

She hit on something core to my identity: a desire for better and a propensity for action. 

I’m sure you have your own big questions–should I move to a new city? Change careers? Get married?

If you’re debating the “right” choice, consider how you’ve responded to other challenges. Did you give up when things went wrong? Think of a specific example if you can. What did you face? How did you take action to improve your situation?

This is a testament to your self-reliance. 

There’s no guarantee that any decision would be “right” or that one even exists. And I’ll say this quickly because I hate hearing it, but yes, only you can decide. 

Regardless of your selected path or how it turns out, you can only count on how you react. 

When you’re someone who doesn’t just let life happen to you, that’s the best possible news. 

Remembering my own self-reliance has been the best comfort when I’m debating big life decisions.

It doesn’t tell me what choice to make or take care of the situation for me. But trusting in my own ability to improve any situation helps. 

To being better without looking for life’s answer key,