Ever been faced with a decision, and no matter how hard you tried, you just froze, unable to make a choice? It happens on occasion, and what’s the result? Long lists of PROS and CONS, weighed against each other. And what’s the result of that? Often, if you’re like me, you’ll end up going with your “gut” anyway!
So it was kind of neat to run across a piece of free Mac software called CHDecide. CHDecide (named after its creator, Christian Hedin), is a tool that attempts to tell you whether a decision can be expected to be a good one.
To use CHDecide (which used to be called iDecide, and as you can see from the screen shot, still bears the name in some of the artwork and product identification, even though CHDecide is definitely the new “official” name), simply enter names for the decision or decisions you are weighing. THen, use the sliders to tell CHDecide whether or not you are likely to succeed with your choice, whether succeeding would bring you much “good” in your life, and whether failing would bring you many “negative” things.
For instance, if you were trying to decide whether to purchase groceries or not, you would likely use these variables:
Probability of Success: 1 (because you would easily accomplish the task)
Utility For Success: 1 (because food is a great positive)
Utility For Failure: 1 (not shopping for groceries = no food = BAD!)
Plug those options into CHDecide and hit the Decide button. CHDecide quickly weighs your decision for you, considering the likelihood of success, the pros and cons (how good is success versus how bad failure would be), and tells you which choices are best. Progress bars that go all the way across are best, which is the result the above variables give.
Of course, not all options are so clear-cut (and if you need help weighing the PROS and CONS of going grocery shopping, you probably need more help than this simple problem can provide!), but in simply browsing a few choices I have upcoming (birthday presents and Christmas presents among them), I’ve found it to be a helpful tool.
Of course, any tool like this is only as good as the information you use, and some choices simply can’t be compared against one another. For instance, I would never try to choose between buying new RAM for my computer and washing the car. The two just aren’t either/or types of choices. However, buying new RAM for my computer could be fairly weighed against purchasing season tickets to the Minnesota Vikings (for example). Both cost money (one more than the other), and one is more likely than the other. The benefits of one (adding RAM) are great, while the Vikings tickets… depends on how good they are and how good my seats are.
And still, this would never be my recommendation as the final arbiter in decision making. But if you’re looking for a totally impartial tool, not likely to give greater weight to the “responsible” choice instead of the “fun” choice, then CHDecide is a good tool. It is currently freeware, with the intention (sometime in the future after a new release), of becoming open source.