• Joumana Elomar

Hard Choice Model

Making hard choices can be stressful, overwhelming and time-consuming. More often than not, we might fall victim to analysis paralysis. This is where we spend so much time thinking about our options that we become "paralysed" and unable to make a choice. While some decisions require such thorough thinking, others don't. So how do we identify which ones do and which ones don't?

The Model

The Hard Choice Model helps us categorise the type of decision, so we can act accordingly. The core idea is that by knowing which type of decision it is, we can figure out the best next steps. To break it down, the model sorts decisions by two things:

  1. How impactful the decision is

  2. How easy it is to compare the options

Sometimes, we might find ourselves thinking we're making a hard choice but in reality it may be a decision that's not very impactful and therefore shouldn't require as much of our time. So how do we respond to each decision?

How does it work?

To use the Hard Choice Model, there are two simple steps.


Identify whether the decision is:

  1. High impact OR low impact

  2. Whether choices are easy to compare OR hard to compare


We then sort decisions into four categories and act accordingly.

1. No brainer

  • Decisions that are easy to compare and low impact.

  • What then? Go with your gut choice. You know the options well.

2. Apples and oranges

  • Decisions that are hard to compare and low impact.

  • What then? Refine what you really want to optimise for.

3. Big choice

  • Decisions that are easy to compare and high impact.

  • What then? Your goal here to gain confidence and courage before executing.

4. Hard choice

  • Decisions that are hard to compare and high impact.

  • What then? Get feedback, mitigate risks and boldly execute.

  • Note: A tool like a decision matrix might help here.

Wrapping it up

Making hard choices is difficult by nature, but not all choices were created equal. The Hard Choice Model helps you differentiate between your decisions, so you can easily define the next steps and maintain your momentum.

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