MAYBE I WILL, MAYBE I WON’T! This blog is inspired from a ludicrous video that my daughter shared. It is not the setting for the video that creates my thought about this topic as the guy was being stopped while driving a skyjack on the street. If you haven’t watched it and want a good laugh, please find it on youtube (warning about foul language used is why I don’t post it). The highlight is when the officer tells the man to come down (he has it lifted high when this occurs) and his famous reply as he moves the controls moving down, “Maybe I will come down” and then raises it again, “Maybe I won’t.”
Let us think about his words. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. This means we have a choice in what happens in our lives. Nothing is a definite yes or no. What we should do is similar to the guy on the lift by weighing out the consequences prior to making a decision.
Through an article excerpt from Mind Tools, here is an example of how we can sort through the Maybe I will, Maybe I won’t by listing Pros and Cons:
Weigh up Decisions With a Simple Approach
Many of us experience “analysis paralysis” when we’re faced with a difficult decision. Often, we’re afraid of making the “wrong” choice, so we spend a huge amount of time analyzing every possibility, and struggling to reach a conclusion.
At other times, however, we are convinced that we already know what the best solution is, so we make decisions quickly and don’t consider all the alternatives.
You can avoid both of these situations by weighing up the pros and cons of a decision – a simple but effective decision-making strategy that allows you to look at the situation from different angles, consider appropriate solutions, and make a confident choice.
In this article, we’ll explore how you can analyze the pros and cons of a decision quantitatively, so that you can make considered and well-informed choices.
About the Tool
Weighing up pros and cons can speed up the decision-making process, improve your understanding of the situation, and help you avoid decision-making paralysis. Using a simple “pros” and “cons” list encourages you to approach your decision objectively, without letting your “gut feeling” impact your choice.
This method is particularly useful in group decision making, when team members favor a certain idea, point of view, or plan. It encourages each person to consider other perspectives, and it can help your team reach a balanced, informed decision.
Evaluating pros and cons is useful for making quick, non-critical, go/no-go decisions . However, when you have to compare many different options, or explore some choices in greater depth, decision-making tools such as Decision Matrix Analysis or Decision Tree Analysis may be more appropriate.
How to Use the Tool
Weighing up the pros and cons of a decision is a quick and easy process.
First, write the decision you have to make at the top of a sheet of paper. Next, divide it in half vertically, and label one side “Pros” and the other “Cons.” Then, list all of the possible positive consequences of the decision in the pros column, and all the negative effects in the cons column.
It may already be obvious whether you should implement the decision at this stage. If not, consider the points you’ve written down, and assign a positive or negative value to each one. For example, a score of +5 may be strongly favorable, while -1 may be mildly unfavorable. Try to score as objectively as possible!
Once you’ve finished, add up the scores in each column, and subtract the total cons from the total pros. A positive overall score indicates that you should go ahead with the decision, while a negative one suggests you should scrap it.
Remember, always use your common sense. If you suspect that the solution isn’t appropriate, take some time to identify any factors you may have missed.
It can be useful to set a time limit for this process during group decision making. This encourages people to brainstorm issues without over-analyzing details.
To take us farther on the path of deciding between Maybe I will, Maybe I won’t, I found a great article and I am attaching an except from the article with the link to the full article:
Here’s a perfectly rational way to make tough decisions: gather all the evidence about the alternatives, analyze the pros and cons, judiciously weigh all those factors, and finally come to a sensible decision.
It sounds so straightforward, but as anyone who has ever wrestled with a tough call full of complicated trade-offs can tell you, it’s anything but. Why is that? Among other reasons because your brain really isn’t built to be rational.
Human psychology is shot through with biases and shortcuts designed to help us make good enough decisions fast (like the ones our ancestors had to make to survive being chased around the savannah by a host of terrifying toothed creatures). But when it comes to more deliberately paced, complex modern dilemmas, these same cognitive quirks often trip us up.
It’s human nature to obsess about the negative.
Take one recently hightlighted by recent research out of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, for example. Humans, it turns out, are really bad at weighing pros and cons. Negatives, it seems, just affect us more.
“Suppose you are evaluating a person — for example, a job candidate — and you make a list of his or her positive and negative qualities,” explained Stanford marketing professor Zakary Tormala to Insights by Stanford. “Even assuming you come up with positives and negatives that are equally relevant and compelling, the negatives tend to carry more weight.”
That means that even if an alternative (say a potential hire, a hotel we might book, or a new career option) is chock full of upsides, just one or two stray negative comments, reviews or possible downsides can paralyze us with doubt. On the other hand, adding one or two glowing reviews to an otherwise negative picture doesn’t generally make us rethink our poor opinion of an alternative.
Marketers have used this truth for decades, knowing that sowing just a few seeds of doubt about a competitor can lead customers into such a mental muddle they’ll refuse to buy its products. But when it comes to making optimal decisions for your own life or business, this bias for negativity isn’t so useful.
How to fix the traditional pros-and-cons list
How do you maneuver around this built-in brain quirk? The first step is simply keeping in mind it exists. “It’s possible that you could resolve your own internal conflict more quickly, and thus take action more swiftly, by recognizing that negative information has a stronger effect on ambivalence than does equivalent positive information,” suggests Tomala.
So the next time one random comment about the cleanliness of a hotel that’s otherwise garnered rave reviews is making you rethink booking a room, or a small concern about airport connectedness of the weather in March is holding you back from taking the plunge and moving to a new city, remember this study and weigh your pros and cons list again, this time putting a finger on the scales for the positives.
By mentally demoting the importance of the negatives and highlighting the pros, you can correct for your natural bias toward negativity and make more sensible choices.
What is positive about this? What is negative about this?
What do I gain doing this? What could I lose doing this?
Does this move me closer to my goal? Does this move me farther from my goal?
Does this make me feel happy? Does this make me feel sad or unhappy?
What will I like about doing this? What will I dislike about doing this?
There are many other factors you may consider before taking the controls and moving in whichever direction you decide is best for you. What I have found in life is that I can receive input from others, some vital and some simple opinions but in the end, the decision is mine to make and I have to live with the consequences Maybe you will, maybe you won’t but weigh out the pros and cons before making impulsive decisions. After taking your time and making good decisions, you are also able to make those quick decisions which don’t give you much time to say Maybe I will, Maybe I won’t!
LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by using the best tool you have, Your Mind.
(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material including photos are sourced to original location if known for credit reference.