How To Make Tough Decisions By Flipping A Coin – And Be Right Every Time

by Nate St. Pierre on May 18, 2012

Have you ever been forced to make a choice, but you’re torn between two options, unable to make a decision? Would you believe that the simple flip of a coin can guarantee you make the right choice every time?

It’s true.

When you’ve established all the pros and cons, heard everyone’s input, gone over it in your mind from every possible angle, and still agonized for days or weeks without being able to come to a decision, it’s time to pull out the coin.

Make one option heads, and the other tails. Hold the coin in your hand for a minute, visualizing the two options on either side. Take a deep breath, and toss the coin into the air.

Suddenly it doesn’t matter which side the coin lands on – because you know which side you’re hoping it lands on.

You have your answer. And it’s the right one.

(Image source: Daniel Dale)

  • I like that one – cuz we usually always secretly hope for one answer over another 😉

  • Brilliant! 

  • I dig it… I know exactly how this goes. I made the decision to make a list of pros/cons of moving to NYC or staying in Chicago and I asked for feedback on message boards and my blog.  It didn’t help- in fact it complicated matters and  for every “Yes, you should move,” responses I had a lot of folks say “Don’t do it, it’s cheaper/easier/smarter to stay where you’re at.”  I suddenly complicated my choice.

    Marie Forleo does something similar to this- but compares it to feeling expansive or claustrophobic…think of both decisions and what one makes you sick to your stomach/closed in and what makes you feel scared but excited?   I love the coin flip idea!

    • I’ve had that many times before too – asking so many people, weighing everything, stressing out forever, and it only seems to complicate everything.

      I think you need to go through all that to make sure you’ve reasoned everything to and are acting like an adult, but if you’re still stuck, I think this is a great trick.

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  • Love love love!!! Quoted… referenced… backlinked… fit perfectly into my blog this morning… thank you so much!! 

    • And I had already commented on your post before I even knew you left this comment. Sometimes I love the web. 🙂

  • simple but interesting thinking, and you are completely right!

  • Simple and brilliant.  I’m stealing it.  

    • Go ahead – I saw the idea on a picture somewhere before, but wanted to write something up on it “for real.”

  • Isaac Niedrauer

    Brilliant. Love it.

  • Damn you, Mr. St. Pierre.  You just stole one of my upcoming posts!  😛

    My crazy doctor used this exact technique when I was torn between changing jobs a while back.  I kept making pro and con lists and was literally making myself sick over it, so he picked up a coin, said “one side is stay at your job and one side is leave,” and he tossed it.  Then he put his hand over the coin and say, “Ok, so which side did you just secretly hope it was?”  And I had my answer.  I actually used this exact exercise in response to a reader who commented to one of my posts recently with a question about which choice she should make in a certain situation.

    You are a wise man, sir.

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  • MB Lane

    This is funny, I started using eeny meenie miney mo to pick a cereal as a kid, I still use it now when I can’t decide on something, no matter the size of the decision.  and by the time I have caught a tiger by the toe, I know what I really want.

    • I don’t know if this is serious or sarcastic, but it made me smile.

      • MB Lane

        Absolutely serious, and people think I’m crazy when I recommend it.  It works for me.

    • Yolanda Freedman

      But you always know which ones going to win….it’s always the one opposite of what you start with. It’s not random at all. It’s dumb.

      • Yolanda Freedman

        Unless there’s more than two, but there’s still a pattern to it.

  • Simple. Insightful. Brilliant.

    Thank you.

  • Melissa

    I do a version of this all the time.

  • shaliad

    I did this but I don’t care which side it lands on?? I want both options! now what do I do??

  • LB

    This didn’t work for me. I think because in the end I don’t have control over 2 major variables. I like the idea though 🙂

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  • Florin

    I picked this up from Mr Nobody i saw yesterday and that’s how i got here . I think is a great ideea for decision making , also i think it can be very usefull for people who have ideeas , know what they have to do but they get lazy or think is not gonna work out and flipping the coin just gives you the motivation to do what you feel is right to do gives you a kind of motivation ..just brilliant !!

  • Dave

    The problem is I always pick heads for the thing I want, but what I want isn’t necessarily the right thing to do. So for me I need the coin itself to tell me if I should do something or not.

  • Yolanda Freedman

    I don’t understand how this means you made the right decision. Just because you want it, that doesn’t make it rite. I mean, sorry to be a buz kill but I just don’t get it. Usually you favor one option over the other anyway and are aware of that, you just don’t know what to do. I keep a coin on me all the time and use coin flipping for a lot of decisions but I’ve rarely had moment where I’ve suddenly known what was right because I had just tossed a coin in the air.

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  • yo


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