Weighted Pros and Cons

Listing Pros and Cons (points for and against a decision) is familiar and I’ve used it many times. It forms a foundation under more sophisticated decision making techniques like modern versions of Ignatius of Loyala‘s discernment. Mostly when I’m done I look at the length of the two lists and usually it’s pretty clear which way to go.

Recently I encountered an improvement on it, How to Make Difficult Decisions: Benjamin Franklin’s Pioneering Pros and Cons Framework. Benjamin Franklin apparently developed the technique. In the delightful Brain Pickings, Maria Popov’s commentary includes something that was lost along the way, pairing one to a few points from each column that are about equal weight and removing them. What’s left over may give a clearer direction.

Warning: Brain Pickings is wonderful and can lead you to spend too much time following links to other posts. Maria is incredibly prolific and there is a lot of good stuff here. My suggestion, set a timer (1 hour) and stick to it. You can pick up again tomorrow.

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