Decision-making doesn’t have to be limited to thinking things through. Decision-making can include strategies like putting pencil to paper and writing some things down. The utilitarian process is great for visual people who are practical and logical in their thought processes.
The utilitarian process is simple. Follow these steps to making a utilitarian decision.
Step #1. Grab a piece of paper and a pencil
Step #2. List the decision to be made at the top of the page
Step #3. Draw a line down the middle of a paper.
Step #4. List all the reasons for your decision on the left-hand side of the page
Step #5. List all the reasons against your decision on the right-hand side of the page
Step #6 Add up the totals
Step #7 Go with the side that has the highest score
It stands to reason that the side with the highest score determines the decision. Sort of like weighing the pros and cons but going with the side that has the “bigger” argument, so-to-speak. The utilitarian process works from the assumption that the side with the greatest number of reasons is logically the side that wins. Too many reasons against a decision trumps not enough reasons for one.
This is the practical man’s fastest path to making a decision but there are things to consider.
Consideration #1. Do each of the reasons to and for a decision have equal weight? Being very intentional about your list helps ensure that each benefit and disadvantage you list have equitable merit.
Consideration #2. What does your gut tell you? Your gut or intuition will often know what you should do regardless of what your paper indicates. Be sure to do a gut-check against your results and see if they match. If they do, you have confirmation!
Consideration #3. Don’t forget to connect your mind and emotions. One of the disadvantages for thinking people versus feeling people are their tendency to over-analyze. Thinkers can be guilty of putting logic over emotions - think Dr. Spock of Star Trek fame.
The utilitarian process for decision making is a great way to process information in a visual way and help logical people come to their best decisions. Consider grabbing a piece of paper and detailing your next decision as a way to come to an easier conclusion.
So, if you have trouble making decisions, try this strategy, then come by and let us know how things are going.
Until next time...
P.S. Did you get the post I did on Facebook that was a twist on this Utilitarian Process...check out the strategies at
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