Get Some Balance in your Life with Benjamin Franklin

The decisions we make shape our life day to day and ultimately our destiny, however often it is easy to overlook or rush important decisions that can affect you further down life’s path.

Often if you are faced with an important choice to make, especially when both have aspects that make them attractive, it is very easy to keep thinking the different scenarios through in your head and often end up going around in circles because no real strategy is being applied to the thought process – just your mind flitting from one thing to the next in what becomes a vicious circle.

This can often lead to frustration and in making a decision one way or another, especially if you are under pressure to do so. Unfortunately as often as the decision can be the right one for you, it can equally be the wrong one, and if it’s an important choice such as moving to another area or even a different part of the world in order to take a new job for example, you may have to live with the results for years to come.

Where you have a gut feeling that something is the right the decision it is much easier, and usually over-analysing it can be detrimental and even take the shine off something that might have initially excited you.

Benjamin Franklin ( ), the great writer, scientist and politician born in 1706 in Boston Massachusetts, founded a fantastic formula for making difficult decisions and called it the Benjamin Franklin Balance Sheet.

The essence of the formula is applying a bit more than a pro’s and con’s chart to deciding on which route to take and comes in the form of a system he developed whereby you write out the pro’s on one side of a sheet of paper and the con’s on the other. Add to the list over the period of a few days until you feel it is complete on both sides.

When you find one aspect from each side that seem equal you strike them out. Ultimately this leads you to the deciding factor. There is of course judgement to be made in this as you go along but you soon weigh up which is the right decision to make and I often find just listing the pro’s and con’s is enough. Sometimes it’s surprisingly easy!

Perhaps the great Benjamin Franklin is better explaining his system than I am, but whatever way you use to reach life changing decisions, be sure to weigh up all aspects, as it is you who will ultimately have to live with the consequences;

“My way is to divide half a sheet of paper by a line into two columns; writing over the one Pro and over the other Con. Then during three or four days’ consideration, I put down under the different heads short hints of the different motives, that at different time occur to me, for or against the measure. When I have thus got them altogether in one view, I endeavour to estimate their respective weights; and where I find two, one on each side, that seem equal, I strike them both out. If I judge some two reasons con equal to some three reasons pro, I strike out five; and thus proceeding, I find where the balance lies; and if after a day or two of further consideration, nothing new that is of importance occurs on either side, I come to a determination accordingly.” –Benjamin Franklin

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