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How To Make Big Decisions!

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Simple tool for making BIG decisions.

0:04 This is Kevin Bergen at The Center for Counseling, Recovery & Growth,
0:09 and I'm gonna share with you a simple tool that'll help you make big decisions.
0:14 This is The Decision Maker. This tool is for
0:19 either-or decisions. Should you move?
0:22 What about this job offer? That surgery the doctor's suggesting is a big deal!
0:28 A divorce is a huge decision! or
0:32 What if you get accepted to two different schools?
0:36 Take a sheet of blank paper.
0:37 Draw a line right down the middle. So far this is no different from the well-known
0:42 exercise of making a list of pros and cons.
0:46 Well, here we're gonna do something a little different
0:49 by adding two important factors.
0:52 Instead of putting pros and cons at the top of the two columns,
0:57 we're gonna put the Either and the Or
1:01 at the top with those two columns. Let's use the example of moving.
1:05 This could be moving to New York
1:09 or moving to Florida, but in our example we're gonna list it as
1:13 either "Move" or "Stay." We'll start by listing a couple outcomes that are
1:20 important, under each heading.
1:23 If we move,
1:24 we'll enjoy a lower cost of living. If we stay here,
1:29 the kids won't have to change schools and go through all that hassle.
1:33 And we'll add more factors as they occur to us.
1:38 Here's the first big difference
1:41 from making that simple list of pros and cons.
1:44 Now draw horizontal line
1:47 across the middle of your page. You're adding another axis
1:52 with which to weigh your factors. Add the label
1:56 "Pros" to the top row, and the label,
1:59 "Cons" to the bottom row. You can also labeled these rows,
2:03 "Positives" and "Negatives," if you prefer, because now you're going to list
2:08 negative outcomes to the two columns on the bottom row.
2:13 For example, the expenses involved with moving
2:17 would be a negative outcome in the first column.
2:21 And knowing we're going to get laid off and be unemployed if we stay,
2:25 would be a negative outcome in the second column
2:29 under "Stay." Continue to fill in outcomes and each of the four quadrants
2:36 as they occur to you. Depending on the magnitude of this decision,
2:40 you may wanna spend just 15 minutes listing the various outcomes,
2:46 or you could take days or weeks to record all the outcomes that occur to
2:51 you.
2:51 And you don't need the same number in each quadrant,
2:55 just consider what outcomes occur to you
2:59 for each section. Now whenever you feel that you've got a good number of
3:05 outcomes, you're ready for the second big difference
3:09 from the old pro-con list, and that is,
3:13 Rating. Consider how much weight
3:17 each factor has on a scale of one to 10.
3:20 In other words, how important
3:23 is each factor? When I look at the first
3:28 positive outcome of moving, I think a lower cost of living is pretty important.
3:34 So I'll rate it a 9. The air is cleaner in the new town,
3:38 but not all that much so its importance is only a three.
3:43 Living closer to family,
3:46 with the kids knowing their grandparents and cousins--
3:49 that's pretty important. The kids staying
3:53 where they are would be nice, but I'll rate that a
3:56 4. But, all of us keeping our current friends
4:01 weighs pretty heavily. And I'll continue to rate each of the outcomes
4:06 I've listed.
4:09 Now is where this tool starts really paying off.
4:13 Total up the ratings of each quadrant.
4:17 Once you have four totals, you'll add the diagonal totals
4:22 together, so the Pros for column 1
4:26 get added to the Cons of column 2,
4:30 and the Cons of column 1 get added to the Pros
4:34 of column 2. In our example,
4:38 the higher number is now under "Moving."
4:43 We've systematically weighed all the immediate factors we could think of,
4:47 and the objective scoring of the factors importance
4:51 indicates that "Moving" would work out better than "Staying"
4:55 where we are. Now this is a dynamic tool,
4:59 meaning that you may continue to add factors in
5:03 any of the four quadrants, rate them,
5:06 and adjust the totals. Do this until you feel satisfied
5:11 that you've included and weighed enough factors
5:14 to make a confident decision, even if the decision
5:17 remains difficult. The closer the scores are for the two choices,
5:23 the more difficult the decision, and the more useful
5:27 this tool becomes.

6:45 This has been a service of The Center for Counseling, Recovery & Growth
6:49 where we offer in-office counseling, group support,
6:53 and distance coaching via Internet video.
6:57 Find us at
7:01 This is Kevin Bergen.

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