To: M'Cues Readers

Published: December 4, 2022

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Hello hello my reader friend. Welcome to Midlife Cues, a newsletter about intentional living in midlife. Was this email forwarded to you? Thank the awesome person then sign-up for your copy here


☕️ THE MAIN THING

Big decisions — the kind that changes the trajectory of our careers, our relationships, or our lives — those are nerve-wracking, to say the least.

When you’re at that proverbial crossroad, and you’re looking at choice A or choice B … and sometimes, choices C, D, and E too!… how do you make up your mind and pick the right choice?

My good friend, Graham Bell, CEO of World of Books, talked about his process in this episode of Second Breaks.

He approaches it very systematically and methodically. He writes all his options on a piece of paper and ranks each option based on factors that he needs to assess against.

Another friend goes by pure gut instinct. He literally tries to listen to what his gut is telling him to do. Never mind the pros and cons.

One approach to making big decisions I’ve been drawn to in the last few years is called the Regret Minimization Framework. Jeff Bezos talked about it in this interview.

He came up with this framework when he was trying to decide whether to leave his stable and lucrative Wall Street job to pursue the idea of selling books on the internet.

[My boss told me], “This sounds like a good idea. But it sounds like it will be an even better idea for somebody who didn’t already have a good job.”

Should he or shouldn’t he? Bezos needed a good framework to help him make this big decision.

To be candid, Bezos is not on my list of role models, but in this particular instance, his process appealed to me immensely.

It’s simple.

When faced with a difficult decision:

1. Project yourself forward into the future.
2. Look back on the decision.
3. Ask “Will I regret not doing this?”
4. Act accordingly.

The goal is to minimize the number of regrets in life.

“If you can project yourself out to age 80 and think what would I think at that time, it gets you away from the daily pieces of confusion. […]The short term can confuse you, but if you think about the long-term, then you can make really good life decisions that you won’t regret later.”

We all know what he decided to do.

BOTTOM LINE

It’s that time of the year when we’re getting ready to come up with goals for the new year.

And chances are there are one or two big decisions you’ll have to make in the process.

Give Jeff Bezos’ framework a try. Project yourself as an 80-years old, look back, and ask yourself, “Will I regret not doing this?”


📣 HEAR HEAR

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.”

— William Hutchison Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition

Often, we won’t know all the steps at the point in time when we’re making a big decision.

But making the decision and committing to it IS the first step.

And that’s enough to move us in a position to figure out the rest.


👤 A MIDLIFER IN PROFILE

Meet Gen Jones’er Shulamit Ber Levtov

Shulamit says her personal history of adversity has given her a valuable lesson: that things will eventually work out for her.

She credits these life experiences for her resilience, independence, and compassion — three things that she loves about herself.

Oh, and Shulamit recently had a successful hip replacement surgery and is finding new joys in walking outside again! Hooray!

Read the rest of Shulamit’s profile.


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💬 LAST WORD

My head has entered the time of the year when it wants to plan for the new year.

The faucet is on and ideas are flowing. The list is getting longer and longer each day. 🤣

But I’m resisting the urge to cull. I’m letting the list grow and for the ideas to marinate.

There will be time to eliminate and find focus.

And apply Bezos’ Regret Minimization Framework. 😉

For now, let it grow.

What’s your year-end process like?

Here’s to an easeful week ahead.

Cool Beans,
Lou Blaser

About LOU BLASER

A former management consultant and IT leader, Lou Blaser is the editor of Midlife Cues and the host of the Second Breaks podcast. She is also the author of Break Free: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself and Your career. Lou’s work is focused on exploring how to navigate, thrive, and turn midlife into the best phase in our life.