What are the best life choices you can make? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by James Liu, who gave up money and power for happiness, on Quora:

There's a difference between best life choices and best life results. It's possible that the best choices do not lead to the best results.

Take a game of doors. Let's say there are three doors: red, green, and blue. Each has a prize behind it. Your friend knows a bit of information: the blue door has the worst prize. Given this scenario, there's a well defined worse choice and two better choices. Given a limited time, picking a non-blue door is the best choice you could have made. However, you're not guaranteed the best results for the best choices -- "sometimes life is a twisted drama with bad outcomes."

Information is your greatest ally; it allows you to predict the best and worst scenarios.

However, prediction is also another layer where you need more information if you want to get it right.

Perhaps your friend is really not into art; they have no idea about the art world. Little did they know the painting behind the blue door was worth a lot of money to the right buyer. Poor prediction is performed using assumptions--non-factual inferences of data. However, you still made the best choice you could have, aside from also choosing to not trust your friend.

Thus, "choice" in any scenario is a matrix of complex informational details, facts, and assumptions. The best choice is the one that uses as much trustworthy knowledge as possible.

How to make the best choices in life?

  • Be observant
  • Be willing to learn
  • Be willing to say you are wrong
  • Drop your ego
  • Drop the idea of absolute best
  • Drop the idea of perfection
  • Figure out your biases
  • Keep an open mind
  • Respect your elders and gain their wisdom
  • Respect your parents and gain their wisdom
  • Respect education, gain inspiration
  • Find role models
  • Find heroes
  • Experiment
  • Don't be afraid to fail
  • Don't be afraid of being sub-optimum
  • Don't be afraid of learning things the hard way

When you live life, your goal is to constantly grow and reach higher and greater levels of ability/happiness.

Since it is impossible to be perfect, the distraction and frustration of not being perfect will eventually become a net negative driver of your overall productivity in which your performance sucks because you're reaching for perfect rather than learning your lessons.

How to make the best life choices: be informed, seek knowledge, seek wisdom, apply yourself gregariously, convert experience into knowledge. Repeat forever.

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