Sometimes, we as humans, decide to make choices that we know aren’t good for us. It’s pretty understandable to say, that probably every single person alive does this to some extent. It’s a normal part of human nature and psychology, and ironically, sometimes it may actually be the best decision you can make.
There are always times in our lives where we know what the “optimal” decision is, but for some reason, we don’t make it. A lot of this comes down to factors that affect our thinking on an intricate and subtle level that may not be visible on the surface. I know that this happens to be quite a lot, and some of the methods I use to try and minimize the risks of it I’ll share with you here.
Yeah, you guessed it from the title. “The least bad decision”. Ok, so you’ve decided you’re going to get drunk, absolutely hammered, obviously, this is not the best decision you’ve ever made. How can you make it the least bad decision. You’ve accepted it’s not a good decision, and that’s important to recognize. Now, how do you minimize the damage or risk. This isn’t something I can answer directly, because each situation to each individual is different. It’s all about trying to keep yourself safe, and minimizing risks associated with what you’ve decided to do.
I can give you an example. As many of you know, I’ve had problems with opiates and drug addiction. A lot of this was caused by my struggle to control my chronic back pain, but ultimately I am still a recovering drug addict because of it. I know very well, that the optimal decision, is to never take opiates. (With the exception of Tapentadol when I absolutely have to because of back pain). Apart from that, taking it or any other drug because I have cravings is never the optimal decision. Sometimes though, I can’t make the optimal decision. Small factors and the nature of addiction leads me to the point where I cannot bring myself to not take something. So I accept that I’m not making the best decision, and I focus on trying to make the least bad one instead.
This may seem counter intuitive, but honestly it works really well. I’m not denying that I am making a bad decision, and accepting you are, is really important. I am however, understanding that sometimes I don’t have the control I would like, and doing what I can do make a decision that in a lot of ways is simply a compromise between the optimal decision and the decision I would like to make.
Yesterday, I wanted, but understood I didn’t need either codeine or tapentadol. A large factor of this was my mood. Something had unfortunately bothered me quite considerably and put me in a seriously down mood. This is always a catalyst for the desire to relief the emotional pain with drugs. I tried my best to resist, but came to the point where I knew that I wasn’t going to make that optimal decision. So instead, I discussed it with my Godfather, and we set about trying to find out what the least bad decision was. Originally, I was thinking about taking 2 or 3 boxes of codeine. The end decision, was that I’d instead just take my normal dose of tapentadol. This would nullify the cravings, and lift my mood slightly, but is far less dangerous than taking a large amount of codeine. It’s true that I imagine I would have enjoyed the 3 boxes of codeine more, but actually in some ways I think this isn’t entirely true. I felt much better about making the least bad decision, and as a result, I didn’t feel bad, guilty, or upset about the decision we (as a team) had made.
How a decision makes you feel after, is equally as important sometimes as the decision itself. It’s why sometimes making the least bad decision can actually be the right decision, i.e the optimal decision. (Paradox!!)
Of course I recognize that for me, the decisions are based around something that may be more complicated or dangerous / risky than most. However this strategy really can be used in any situation where you’re thinking it’s going to be difficult to make the optimal decision. It’s something everyone has to deal with at times, and knowing how to deal with this in a way that minimizes risks is a really good way to keep yourself safe, and in a good mental state.
Try it out, and let me know how it works for you.