The Three Paths Equation

We’ve all heard the old saying that the only certainties in life are death and taxes and I think that in a strange way we’ve come to believe that there are only two options when it comes to making decisions. 

Sure, day to day questions like “should I go to work or stay home?” or “should I take lunch or buy it instead?”, are fairly black and white sort of questions that generally give no more than two possible answers.

But what about the many times in life that there are in fact three possible choices?

Often these are the big questions that take a little more consideration and another option is available.

I call these situations The Three Paths Equation (or the FTI Equation) and looking at situations and choices in your life might be a little easier if you visualize, or even draw, the three paths ahead of you.

For example, you might be unhappy at work and that means there are three choices to make (or three paths to take):

  1. Fix-It
  2. Throw It Away
  3. Ignore It

Obviously, option one is to try and find solutions to make work a more enjoyable and rewarding experience for you. Maybe talk to a counsellor for some ideas on how to better manage work-related stress or have a meeting with your boss to nut out some issues.

The throw it away option is an easy one – you quit or start looking for a new job.

And the third option is essentially to let it be, to go on as you have been and not take any decisive action.

Many situations in life can be replicated across the Three Paths Equation, think relationships and financial decisions like what to do with a house or a car, as being the most common.

If you plan, write out what your options are and think through your decisions, you are much more likely to come up with the right decision.

If you’re still not sure, it is these types of large and important questions that a counsellor can often help you answer.

About Joel Helmes 75 Articles
I offer a person-centered and solutions-focused approach to my work as a Relationship and Adult Counsellor. I utilize skills from a number of modalities. I believe that we are all capable of change and I hope that I might be able to assist you in achieving this.