Benjamin Franklin List

also known as
Pro and Con List

Not sure what to do? Want to quit a habit that is not productive? Need to decide what path to travel? You are the only one who can make the decision about your life. Quitting a bad habit to please someone else will not work in the long run. You need to make YOUR life decisions based on your beliefs. 

Why call it the Benjamin Franklin list. It is said that Ben when faced with a decision that he was on the fence about, would take a piece of paper, fold it in half length wise and put a plus and a minus sign at the top. In his genius he discovered that by listing all the positive elements on one side and the negative things on the minus side, the decision would become obvious.

This is a method that I grew up using. When I was not sure what I should do, I would make a pro and con list. Weigh my answers and make the decision. Sometimes the decision was not to change at this time. Other times it was to go forward with a new plan.

Example: Substance/drug/cigarettes/alcohol/food abuse, etc.
 Most substance users have a love/hate relationship with the substance. They love the way the substance makes them feel, but they are also aware of the health dangers and the social consequences of using.  

You may not be sure if you want to quit or change your pattern of behavior. Does the pleasure of using outweigh the problems associated with the substance. Only you can decide. A court, your family, your doctors, your friends, and others may try to tell you what to do, BUT it is up to you.
List the 5 most important reasons to quit the substance.
Look over the reasons, are they YOUR reasons or what others are telling you. Go back and rewrite if needed. Have the reasons be yours. Own them.

Now list 5 reasons you should keep using or abusing the substance. What are the most important reasons that you use. What are the benefits of using?
Once again look over the reasons. Are they yours or someone else’s excuses. Does #1 in one list have more value than in another list. If you decide that the list of reasons to quit is a stronger list. Then it is time to get ready to change your behavior.

If the reasons for using out weigh the reasons for quitting then keep the list handy. The balance may shift with an arrest or heart attack etc.  Your children or family may tip the balance. Sometimes  we may change the list because of how we effect others and how that makes us feel. Not quitting for them, but for how it makes us feel. 

This pro and con list can work for many circumstances and life decisions.

Peace and Blessings
Grace M

4 Responses to “Benjamin Franklin List”

  • Simone says:

    hi – this is a great post. I heard that this is the reason so many people never achieve their goals… they’re motivated to please someone else, not themselves. Once again, it’s the details that hold the magic to transformation!

    • Grace says:

      I hear that you are working to be more positive in your outlook on this life. A wonderful adventure.

  • Bryan Purvis says:

    Wow this is a great resource.. I am enjoying it.. good article

  • Jim says:

    I was looking simply for an explanation of the “Franklin list”, but the gem on this page is Simone’s observation about the reason people cannot achieve their goals! (She implies, I assume, that a “Franklin list” can be a tool for escaping from a rut others have dug, but her comment stands on its own.)