Last week, I posted an article about things New Grads can negotiate. While that article applied mostly to financial transactions (rent, credit cards, and automobile prices), that same mindset can be applied to more broadly to other decisions we make everyday. Embracing the idea that most things in life are indeed negotiable can help you feel more peaceful when you are making big changes in your life.20131202-102513.jpg

Everything is Negotiable, and Everything is RE-Negotiable

This paradigm-shifting concept was first introduced to me by my mother while I was in college. Like most college parents, my mother spent countless hours with me on the phone each week. She patiently listened as I constantly over-complicated each decision that needed to be made.

Which dorm to move to, whether to pick up a part time job, what to do about relationships, which organizations to join, and of course whether to switch my major (which I did 5 times during undergrad).

I like to plan everything. I like to understand the long term impact of each decision. I like to lay out a step-by-step path to each of my life goals. You may be able to relate. We all appreciate at least some level of predictability in most areas of our lives.

One day, as I was once again trapped in a Sheldon Cooper-like paralysis of analysis (Big Bang Theory reference), my mother said “Son, everything’s negotiable and everything is renegotiable. Make a decision. If you change your mind later, you will just regroup and make a new decision”.

I do not remember exactly what we were discussing at that time, not does it matter. But what I do remember is that my eyes were opened at that moment, and I have seen life differently ever since.

I think we put add a lot of self-imposed pressure to many of the decisions we make as New Grads.

Yes, the job offer we accept will have a profound impact on the near-term trajectory of our life. Yes, the city we live in will have an impact on how often we can see our loved ones. Yes, signing a yearlong lease at a new apartment complex will have an impact on our quality of life for the next 12 months. But the truth is, all of these decisions are temporary and negotiable.

If you really don’t feel like you are able to grow and prosper at your job, you can quit later. Or better yet, see if there’s a way your boss can help you maneuver into a role that’s a better for for you. It may cost you a paycheck and cause some momentary discomfort, but you can certainly recover. If you don’t like your city, you can move. You will need to find a new job and new home, but you will recover. If you absolutely hate your apartment, you can work something out with your landlord and possibly get a new resident to take over your lease.

I am not suggesting that you make decisions with only the short term in mind or that you enter into contractual obligations with little forethought. However, I am suggesting that your decisions be driven by a feeling of peace and confidence rather than stress and uncertainty. Too often we are so afraid to make the wrong decision that the fear clouds our judgment and prevents us from exploring possibilities beyond the bounds of our comfort zone.

We cannot predict everything. But rarely are we truly trapped in unpleasant situations. There is almost always a way to modify the circumstance to make it more bearable.


So, to wrap up… We’ve got many important decisions to make. Give each decision careful consideration. But do not stress yourself thinking you will be unable to correct course if need be. Relax, it’s all negotiable.

I hope this article helps someone feel more at peace with the decisions their making in life. It’s not the traditional bullet-pointed post, but I feel that there is much to be gained from the idea that everything is negotiable. If you can see yourself being more at peace with big decisions, feel free to tell your story in the comments below. Also, if you have friends or loved ones who could benefit from this content don’t hesitate to share this article with them. Thanks for reading!

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Jonathan (a.k.a. Newgrad23) is a recent college graduate with a passion for helping Millennials take charge of their career and finances from Day 1 after college. He enjoys blogging and listening to personal finance podcasts. When he's not doing that, you can catch him at local sporting events, music festivals, and near the best food trucks the city has to offer.