Recently, I listened to a episode of the 80k podcast, an interview with Habiba Islam and Michelle Hutchinson. One topic they talked about was typical things they discuss during their career advice calls. A recurring theme is that people have a bunch of options and they want 80k to tell them which one is the best. Habiba mentioned that this usually ends up with 80k explaning them that they have to make their own decisions. They are the only person who knows all the details of their own life, 80k can only give advice.
This reminded me of myself and how I approached decisions in my life. I think basically since I had to make decisions about my own life and especially after I came across effective altruism I have been looking for someone else for telling me what I should do with my career (or my life even). Because after all how should I even make a decision? Yeah I can come up with a bunch of ideas and even make plans, but making a decision is just so hard. Could please somebody else do this?
I remember when I went to my first EAG in 2019. I had some ideas what I could do, but not really something concrete and I kinda walked around and talked to people, hoping they would give me some great advice on what I should be doing with myself. But obviously this didn’t happen and I remained confused. However, this EAG also lead to my thoughts in about decisions to change. It started to click for me when I was talking to people younger than myself and not as far into their career as I am now. They wanted to talk to me and they wanted me to make decision for them and tell them what they should be doing. But how could I do this? I don’t know enough about their life to really make a decision and even if I would know enough, I am not in a position to tell another person what to do with their life (nobody is).
But if I cannot give anybody else advice on what to do, how could I expect anybody else to do this for me? The answer is: I can’t. I have to make my own decisions, because after all its my life. And once I started to realize this, the puzzle pieces started to come together. Not making decisions is just fear of owning up to the consequences. If somebody else tells me what to do, I am not responsible if it does not work out. However, if I have chosen a specific path and it fails, this was up to me. But this is okay. Life is full of uncertainty and I will make decisions that turn out to be wrong. But they will have been my own decisions about my own life1.
1 reading existential philosophy was quite helpful for me to understand this better.