What you weren’t taught about making pro/con lists

Decision making list matrices: what my mom never told me!

Whenever I faced a big decision when I was younger, my mom taught me to make lists. A list of all the benefits if I did whatever it was. And a list of all the negatives. In other words, a pro/con list.  And I did this. And sometimes it helped. And sometimes it didn't.  Overall, as a tool, it wasn't very helpful.

I finally found out why. Farnham Street blog has a lovely article about decision making ala Seymour Schulich - http://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2015/02/seymour-schulich-the-decision-maker/

What is so cool is that – he recommends the pro/con list – and says – add weight to each item on the list.  A number that indicates how important each item is to you personally (1 is not very important 10 is very important). And then you add up all the weights and that gives you a positive score and a negative score.

I feel like all this time I've been doing it wrong. No wonder these lists didn't help me make a decision. This makes so much more sense! Just counting up pros and cons always left me feeling like  - OK – but – this other thing is really important and the counter items, while numerous aren't all that important.  Giving each item weight solves that problem.

And that’s not all – the rule is – your positive score should be at least twice your negative score in order for the pros to outweigh the cons.  Otherwise, don’t do it or think really hard about whether it really is worth it.  I am so excited to try this out for my next big decision.

Do any of you use this sort of weighted matrix for decision making?  Does it work for you? It seems like it would be way more effective than flipping a coin and hoping for the best.

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