For the largest part, the quality of your life is determined by the quality of the decisions you make. We all like to think that one or two big events in our life will help us to create the life that we truly want but this is a long way from the truth. In each and every moment we have small decisions to make and it is the quality of these decisions that truly shapes our lives. 

So when you are faced with two decisions of similar value, how do you decide which option to run with? The truth is, we humans are not the greatest at predicting the future and this makes the decision harder to make as we can't determine what the actual outcomes will be for each potential decision.

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Learning from Naval

I am currently reading a book called “The Almanack of Naval Ravikant”. Naval is an investor and businessman. He invests in many companies and helps to run many more. He's had some very notable successes such as being an early investor in uber and other successful companies. 

A few moments ago, I read a piece of wisdom from Naval which directly affects where I am at this very moment in life. Naval was writing about how to choose which option is best when both seem to be very similar. And his advice is quite simply choose the short-term pain or as he otherwise phrases it, run uphill.

When you take a moment to think about it you realise that this is some of the most wonderful advice you can receive. Think of anything great you've achieved in your life and you will realise that it started with some pain. It was a struggle to begin with, to get going and to build some momentum. The alternative is to take the option that is easy right now but that usually leads to long-term payment suffering.


My own situation

As I wrote in a recent article, I have been having some health issues, including with my eye. At my last consultation, it was recommended that I receive a course of injections in my eye in an attempt to improve matters. I was also given the option to continue monitoring the situation. While the monitoring option would be less painful in the short-term, the potential consequences further down the road were higher. So, I felt that the best course of action was to choose the short-term pain of the injections and aim for better long-term outcomes.

I am also at a point in my business where  I want to make some changes to the focus of the business and the services I offer to my clients. It is going to be painful, requiring a lot of work but I feel that the long-term rewards are going to be better. So, those changes are coming.


Examples of choosing short-term pain

To further illustrate the need to choose short-term pain, allow me to provide a few examples:

1. Weight loss

One of the most obvious examples is weight loss. Most of us have at some stage in our lives wanted to lose some weight but to do so requires some difficulty and discomfort. We have to cut out foods we enjoy and eat foods which we might not be so fond of. It's necessary to get the appropriate amount of exercise and if you haven't already been exercising this brings a great deal of pain and discomfort. And in addition to all that, rest is critically important which means ensuring a regular bedtime and a regular time for rising and doing everything necessary to get the best possible sleep. If we were living an unhealthy lifestyle, these add up to many small decisions which bring short-term pain but when you choose the short-term pain you will slowly, over time, see your weight drop and you'll enjoy the experience of better health. 


2. Building your wealth

Building wealth is another example of how short-term pain pays off in the long run.

It's very easy to go out and spend as much as you earn but if you do so you're not increasing your wealth. To increase your wealth, you have to be able to say no to some things which seem great in the present moment. These things would bring you short-term happiness and joy but that quickly fades. However, if you say no to these things and instead you invest the money properly over the long-term; the money you put aside and the compound interest earned upon it will see you steadily increase your wealth. When you choose the short-term pain you get the long-term gain.


3. Building a side business

With the advent of the internet something that has become increasingly popular is building a side business. This is where people have full-time employment but in their spare time they work on building a business of their own. This can be quite a painful decision to make because it means cutting out many things you would like to do or at least cutting down on them. Examples include socialising, watching TV and movies, playing video games and other hobbies or interests which don't necessarily add any great value to your life. These things will seem great in the moment but again the joy and happiness quickly fades. 

But when you choose the short-term pain of saying no to these things and instead invest the time in building your own business, and working on what's truly important to you, you will achieve more joy and happiness in the long-term. You will then have greater opportunities for building the life you truly want. Even if the business doesn't work out you will have developed knowledge, skills,and aptitudes which will serve you in other areas of your life. and what probably evenThese will also allow you to find more rewarding opportunities within the job market. 


Choose the short-term pain

The above are just a few examples of why you should choose the short-term pain or as Naval Ravikant says choose to run uphill. Few great things in life come without struggle because it is the struggle that allows you to learn and to grow; to become more of the person you really want to be. This is what truly brings more joy and happiness to your life 

So, take a moment to think about some of the difficult decisions you are facing in your life and if you really can't make your mind up as to which is best, why not try the one that brings the most short-term pain and learn and grow from the experience.

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