How to Make Decisions: 12 Easy Steps

by Robert John Stevens, September 19, 2016

  1. Put aside your emotions.
  2. Write down the outcomes — yes/no; choose A or B, etc.
  3. Write down all the pros and cons for each decision.
  4. Based on the evidence you’ve collected, assign a probability to each pro and con.
  5. Assign a weight to each. Your professors do this whenever they tell you how much of an assignment, lab or test is part of your overall grade. The total weights should add up to 100%.
  6. Consider dependencies. For example, issue A is dependent on issue B, then perhaps you don’t need to consider issue A.
  7. Multiply each weight by the probability you assigned.
  8. Add up your totals.
  9. Take your decision to the Lord in prayer and ask for a confirmation. The Mormon formula for making decisions is invaluable. There is strong evidence that Oliver Cowdery tried translating the Book of Mormon and failed; in other words, he tried before he asked God. That’s part of “studying it out in your mind.”
  10. Prove all things. Hold fast to that which is true.
  11. Be willing to alter your probabilities and weights as more information comes forth.
  12. Recognize that when doors open, that may be God’s answer to your prayers. He often works through other people. Welcome people who volunteer to help you—God usually works through other people.

Some people’s instinct or gut feelings are better than others, especially in things in which they have experience. Some people’s minds do the above calculations and then present to them a decision. There is no harm demonstrating such decisions on paper.