Tim Keller referred to theology, but I think this assertion is applicable to broader contemplations in life.
Exactly two years ago I moved to New York City and had plenty of doubts when making my decision. It made sense for my career, but it was not fiscally responsible to uproot my entire life to attend graduate school in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Additionally, it was common knowledge that New York City was not exactly a place with an abundant population of well-mannered suitors -- was this a poor life choice?
I didn't realize it at the time, but I doubted my doubts. The nature of my worries was rooted in fear and unreasonable worst-case scenarios. In other words, my doubts were irrational and they were clouding my judgment. How did I know this? When I put my worst fears aside, I was completely thrilled at the thought of a new adventure -- one that would give me an unmatched opportunity to learn about business/ entrepreneurship, make new friends, and live outside my comfort zone. It would not only be an educational experience, but also a life experience. I essentially forced myself to think long-term in order to validate such a disruptive decision. At the end of my life, would I regret not moving to New York City? Would the massive student debt pay off? Was the opportunity cost worth it? The answer was hell, yes. And thus, I started my love affair with the city of dream(er)s.
Two years later, I am still utterly in love with New York City and certain I made the right choice. I made some of the best friends in my life, traveled with my classmates, pursued entrepreneurship whole-heartedly, and fell in and out of love. As decisions became seemingly harder to make, I realized something. Along the same vein of doubting your doubts, or extracting the irrational thoughts that drive fear and doubt in decision-making, there is value in doing the opposite - deliberately adding instinct to your set of considerations.
Over the past year, it became clear that I needed to follow my gut earlier and more often - a lesson that I have recently had to implement. If you have an unsettling feeling and can't express it clearly in sensible terms, perhaps that is reason enough to do or to not do something. Or, it is at least enough reason to re-evaluate things. Sometimes, my gut has been a clearer proxy than my rationale, which tends to be rigid and rooted in logic. To those who are overly analytical like me, I urge you to be more open to your intuition (not to be confused with emotion; that's a topic for another piece).
The next time you're faced with a tough decision I suggest you think critically, but also consider what your gut is saying. As you get older and acquire more life experience, you begin to realize the importance of the broader picture. How will the decisions you make affect your mind, body and spirit? Everything is inter-connected and luckily, it begins with you.
Go get 'em, tiger.