Make Hard Decisions
Hard Decisions is an insightful activity and conversation starter that explores tough propositions and encourages critical thinking.
First, split your group into pairs. Explain that over the course of several rounds, you will invite each person (individually) to consider which one of two distinct hypothetical, often difficult choices they would make.
Pose a question in which each person must choose between two difficult, hypothetical propositions, eg would you prefer to be poor in a job you love, or rich in a job you hate? or Be a bench player on a winning team or the star player on a losing team?
Sometimes the choice will be clear, while other times neither option is acceptable. On these occasions, encourage your group to choose the option they like least.
Give everyone a few moments to consider their choice, and then invite them to share their decision – and why – with their partner. Next, each person predicts the preference of the majority of people in their group, and shares this prediction with their partner.
Here is a very important moment of the exercise: how well do we know others? And we confront our ideas and thoughts: do we think the same way?
When ready, ask everyone to stand to one side of a space (or the other) according to their personal choice to determine the majority preference of the group. The split reflects the personal choices of each individual, which will produce a majority one way or the other reflecting the group’s preference.
Repeat this process, asking as many questions as you have time or energy to explore. Given the substance behind many of these propositions, be sure to spend a few minutes at the end of the exercise to invite your group to reflect on what they may have observed or learned during the exercise.
Moment of Reflection
- How easy was it for you to make a decision?
- What factors or criteria did you use to make certain decisions?
- Did any of your choices surprise others who know you?
- What might your choices reveal about you and your ethics and values? What about the group?
- What ‘evidence’ did you take into account to make your decisions about the preference of the group?
- Were your decisions similar to or very different from the decisions of the majority of the group?