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Allan's Philosophy Podcast

Monday, March 22, 2010

Allan's Advice #1 - Pro Con Lists

Hey guys this is a new little project that I just got inspired to do. It's basically a column where whenever I experience something that personally affected me I will share the morals of the story. Maybe if this get popular enough people can even share their own morals and lessons they’ve learned through everything that life puts us through. There are definitely things that I have gone through in my own life that I have learned from and by looking at the lessons it taught me, it helped me improve my life from then on. I am sure there have been events like these in your own lives that have taught you an important value or lesson that has let you improve upon and it would be cool if you guys can share those with the rest of us. Hopefully this will end up being something that allows others to relate through and improve their lives upon by taking these lessons under consideration in their futures.

The original inspiration for this column was an experience that happened the other day to me. I was forced to make a decision about what I was going to do this summer and deadlines arose for one project I wanted to do so I couldn’t postpone the decision any longer. I was stuck at a crossroad for joining a project now or taking my chances and waiting to try and get accepted into another internship that I wanted to do more. I didn’t know if I should risk it and wait for the other one or risk doing a program that I might have not enjoyed. As what any kid who is conflicted would do, I turned to my mom and gave me a solution that is almost as ambiguous as when parents say "we'll see." She straight up told me that she didn’t know which one I should take and that obviously wasn’t the answer I was looking for. I then came to the realization that too much variety can be a bad thing and that being told what to do isn't always a bad thing. When I was stuck between two options and didn’t know which one to choose I became anxious and wished that someone would pick for me. Sometimes a solution for this predicament would be to do an Enni Menni Mine Mo type thing but this decision was a high impact pivotal moment (just like the note I wrote) and I wasn’t willing to risk a big decision on such a method. My mom saw me distressed and then suggested I should make a pro con list. I was shocked I hadn't thought of it before and immediately wrote down all the factors and variables involved in both possibilities. Pro Con lists are amazing because they help provide as much of an unbiased decision as possible. They do this by highlighting all the potential outcomes of making a certain choice, both good and bad, thus giving you a broader scope of what to take under consideration when making a decision. Sometimes decisions are crapshoots where no one can tell you which way to turn or one choice may not seem better or worse from the others. Sometimes they are completely equal and it doesn’t make a difference what you choose to do but you will probably feel anxious when having to choose one over the other. Thankfully, with my pro con list completed, I was able to see the big picture and realized that waiting to see if a got into the other program was more worthwhile and in return gave me the relief of feeling like the earth's pressure was lifted off my shoulders. I highly recommend using a pro con list whenever you have to decide something and unsure which choice to take. They definitely have helped me out and hopefully they will for you too in your future decisions and choices.

-Allan Nicholas

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