How to Make a Good Decision All of us have to make decisions all the time. Sometimes we make good ones and sometimes … well … not so good. Throughout my life I have made tens of thousands of decisions, and not all of them were the right ones. The wrong decisions I now call “experience.” This blog is intended to help you learn from my experiences and provide you with foolproof methods to make better decisions. Ready? Okay, let’s go. One of the best ways to avoid making bad decisions is to step back and take a deep breath. Hasty decisions are often the worst ones. If it’s not a decision that has to be made immediately, take your time. Do some research. Talk to people who have been in similar situations; find out what they did and how it turned out. Then, after careful consideration, make your decision and stick to it. One method of making decisions is called the If/Then Conditional Statement. You begin with a premise and then see what logically follows the premise. Let me give you some examples: If you strike a match, then it will light. If you stop drinking, then you won’t have a hangover. If you keep your mouth shut, then you won’t get in trouble. See how easy logic is? Start with the premise for your decision. Should I go to the gym today? That’s the decision that has to be made. Using the If/Then Statement would look like this: If I go to the gym, then I will get stronger. If I don’t go to the gym, then I will regret it later. If I go to the gym, then I will have more energy. If I don’t go to the gym, then I will be snarly later and my wife won’t like me. See how you can use this to make good decisions? Ben Franklin used a great method for making decisions. He would take a piece of paper and draw a line across the top and a line down the middle. On the top left he would write “For” and on the top right he would write “Against”. He would then start on the left and list all of the reasons for making a decision. He would do the same thing on the right and list all of the reasons against making a decision. When he was done, he claimed that the right decision was easy. Through the years, many philosophers have attempted to create methods for making good decisions. Perhaps the most famous of these was Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher who wrote a theory for making correct moral decisions called the Categorical Imperative. I know that if I try to explain this theory to you I will certainly lose you and you will stop reading. Since I really want you to read to the end, let me just say that it didn’t quite work out the way Kant expected.
Flipping a coin has always been a very popular way of making decisions. I am reminded of the college student who was taking a multiple choice exam and, since he hadn’t studied, was choosing his answers by flipping a coin. When the other students had finished and he was still flipping his coin, the professor went to him and asked him what he was doing. The student replied, “I’m checking my answers.” (Rim shot) Another philosopher, John Stuart Mill, promoted the idea of making decisions based on the greatest good for the greatest number. Liberals have been using this flawed system ever since and it should need no further comment. I will now reveal to you the absolutely best way I have found to make the correct decision in virtually any set of circumstances. Do what your wife told you to do in the first place.