Make a Decision, Use The Docs Balance Sheet

I received a letter from an old friend this morning which got me thinking!

His letter referred to how a technique I taught him saved his marriage. Now I’ve done quite a few things in my life but saving people’s marriages hasn’t been a regular occurrence in my working day!

Nonetheless my friend insists he used my technique for making decisions for making one which saved his marriage and has kept his family unit intact.

I learned and adopted this method many years ago from Doctor Benjamin Franklin who was the 6th president of The United States, during the 1700s, and one of its Founding Fathers. Dr Franklin was a Polymath, which is someone who draws on a wide range of knowledge to make decisions.

Dr Franklin received about the same amount of formal education as me and like me educated himself by reading books. He invented many things including, The Lightning Rod, Bifocal lenses and the Franklin Stove.

As my daughter said many years ago “You didn’t know Doctor Franklin personally did you Dad?” No unfortunately I didn’t! Even I’m not that old. I have however read several books about his life and adopted and expanded a technique he used when faced with a dilemma.

If you are faced with a business decision (or any other decision come to that) use this method to get it right. I can assure you it works and is highly effective.

Take a piece of paper and draw a vertical line down the middle. Put two headings at the top. One on the left and one on the right. Label them in capitals FOR and AGAINST.

Now in turn start to write all the reasons you can think of for the decision, and then all the decisions against.

Keep writing! Put down everything you can think of. Let’s say you’re thinking of getting a puppy. What are the reasons for it? And what are the reasons against it?

You might put, cute, loving, good for the family etc on the FOR side, and perhaps, it will be a tie, cost, training, etc on the AGAINST side. Just keep writing reasons until you’ve exhausted the process.

Now go back through each side in turn and score them as you see fit. Use ten as your maximum and zero as your minimum. You might put ten beside “Loving” but only eight beside “Cute” it’s your decision and your score.

When you have done this, total up each side of the page. Whichever score is highest is the decision you should make.

Try it, it works! At least it did for my friend because he tells me that after sleeping in the spare room for six months he has moved back into the marital bed and he and his wife are now expecting another baby! I suppose in a way that’s my fault! Perhaps if it’s a boy they will call him Stephen?, or maybe Benjamin?, or ask me to be godfather to him or her. As long as the baby is healthy and happy and born into a loving family that’s all that matters.

Good luck to the family anyway. Family life and values matter, they stabilise society and create community and a sense of belonging. Think positive,be happy, and use The Docs balance sheet to make effective decisions.


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