If you are facing a major decision and who isn’t, you need to have a way to handle the choice with less stress. The Benjamin Franklin method is a way to start thinking about a difficult choice. Then, you can apply five core principles of planning, seeking advice, tapping the subconscious mind, flexibility, and taking a test drive.
Good Ole Ben
Benjamin Franklins’s method for approaching a major decision is to make two columns of line items about the decision. In one column are the pros. In the other, the cons. Then, add a weight to each factor according to its importance.
Eliminate the pros and cons that have equal weight by pairing them up to cancel them out. Then, if the weight of two pros equals the weight of one con, eliminate all three. Do the same in reverse. If the weight of two cons equals one pro, eliminate all three.
This method helps you think about the possibilities and reduces the extra concerns, so you can focus on the key elements.
You can use the Benjamin Franklin method with these five core principles to improve your key life decisions.
1. Take Time to Plan
Major life decisions may be stressful because so many things are involved. Rather than make a rash choice with insufficient information, take time to understand all the ramifications. Investigate your idea, and then plan for the change.
2. Work with an Advisor
You do not have to make these major life decisions alone. If you have someone you trust, confide in them and ask for their advice. You don’t have to follow their advice; however, it is good to know what they think.
Speak to a professional who has expert knowledge about the decision you are facing. You may benefit from the insights they learned from their experience.
3. Sleep On It
Find the inner voice that guides you by letting your subconscious mind work on the decision overnight while you are asleep. Some believe that they have contact with angels. Others call these helpers spirit guides.
Put a pen and notepad on the side of your bed. Right before you go to sleep, write down the question that you want to be answered. If you wake up in the middle of the night, jot down everything you can remember before you fall back asleep. Read your notes in the morning. Notice any feelings or reactions you have about them.
Take a nice relaxing warm shower in the morning and let your mind wander. You may find sudden clarity and realization that you know what to do in this relaxed state of mind.
4. Be Flexible
Suppose you decide to try out for the Navy Seals. What if you fail to make the grade? Many fail. Rather than give up, you might consider expanding your decision from specifically joining the NavySeals to joining the military in another capacity.
Don’t get stuck in any predetermined cultural modes when exploring options. Find your purpose. You may find it just as interesting to enjoy a disciplined life as a Buddhist monk instead of being a soldier.
5. Take a Test Drive
Many life decisions have the possibility of trying out a smaller commitment before making a major one. Want to work for a certain firm? Consider interning there for a few months first. Think you might like to live in another place? Take a working vacation to a place you think you may want to live and work there for a short time to get a feel for the locals and the lifestyle.