Chip Is Alive!, Issue 13
Welcome to Issue 13 of Chip Is Alive!, where we examine thought-provoking life strategies and issues which may or may not be of interest to you. Chip Is Alive! is inspired by Chip Vivant, the app who thinks he's alive and wants to be your friend and help you in ways that other productivity apps can't. You can meet Chip at www.empathynow.com.
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In this issue, we'll discuss:
- the elements of informed decision making
- an invitation to send feedback about Chip and you
Beyond Coin Tossing
Thirty years ago, my late father wrote a booklet entitled Decision Making: A Step-by-Step Method in which he talked about how to make an informed decision. The booklet was a free supplement to the self-published book he was selling called Getting a Job in Hard Times. I still remember the boxes of books that he brought back from the printing company as well as all of the how-to-be-your-own-boss-type books in his home office. It's through him that I got the entrepreneurial itch.
His modest 12-page, single-sided, 8x11, typewritten, stapled booklet started like this:
What is a Decision?
When there are two or more choices in a situation, you need to pick one of those choices. Decision making is basically that simple. If this is so, why is it so hard for most people to make decisions?
Picking between two choices is relatively easy if both of those choices are judged for only one quality. For example, if you were buying cars based only on color, and your favorite color was blue, it would be easy for you to pick a car. Any blue car would do. Obviously, most decisions aren't that simple. Using the same car example, there are a number of other things you need to consider, besides color, in buying a car. These things might include size, fuel economy, comfort, resale value, make, and so on. What started out being a simple decision (buying a blue car) has now turned into a hard one....
He then goes on to detail a step-by-step method for making decisions which, while not perfect, is considerably better than gut decisions or flip-a-coin-type methods:
- First, you need to identify the possible choices comprising this decision.
- Next, identify the factors that will influence your decision.
- Then, identify how important a given factor is compared to another one.
- Finally, for each choice, rate how well the choice corresponds to each of the factors that are important to you.
He provides a mathematical formula for computing the best decision which thirty years ago, you'd need to use pen and paper for. I've packaged all of this into a handy, dandy, math-free web app:
Regardless of whether you use the above web application or not, simply identifying the choices, factors and ratings is a giant step towards eliminating the emotional or random element of your decision-making process. What's more, in addition to the two freebies I've offered in the past, I'm offering you a free decision on the above website if you do the same things I've asked for with the previous freebies:
- Sign up for a free empathynow.com account and send yourself or someone else at least one empathy message, challenge or to-do.
- Like the EmpathyNow Facebook page. (You're liking my effort and the place where my heart is at.) You are exempt from this if you don't have a Facebook account for philosophical reasons.
- Once you've done the above, drop me a line (either using the EmpathyNow Contact page or else by replying to this email) indicating you've done the above and I'll send you a link to the handy, dandy language guide.
If you've already done the above, drop me a line and ask for a free decision point. And don't forget that doing the above brings the total number of freebies you get from me to three:
- The EmpathyNow Break Timer
- My 19-page guide: How to Learn a Foreign Language
- A free decision on the Decision Help Now! Website
The catch is that you have to specifically ask for these things, so I know that you're listening.
Ironically, even though my father's booklet was written thirty years ago, it is still timely. A Google search on "decision making" is littered with either cute flip-a-coin-type apps or else verbose, academic theories which are almost impossible for the layperson to comprehend, let alone implement.
Chip's Tips: If It's Broke, Fix It!
Yesterday, someone pointed out a bug which had caused her missed notifications for a couple of weeks. If I had known about this sooner, I could have avoided her many missed days of daily proverbs. (I'm looking into this bug right now.) The moral of the story? If it's broke, ask me to fix it! Unlike large impersonal companies, I'm here for you and respond to all incoming feedback personally. Take advantage of the personal touch I can afford at this stage of the game before it's too late.
Juggling has been stalled for this week. On the upside, Chip's constant, gentle reminders ensure that this won't fall off the radar. (The problem is that days are getting shorter, and by the time I'm able to shoot the videos, it's evening and there's not enough light, and I don't want to practice without shooting the videos, so it's a vicious circle.) I'll figure something out and update you next week.