Universal Ethics

6. Choose a Course of Action

Choose the Strategy

If you have completed the analysis in the previous steps, then you already have selected some goals for yourself and any others who are participating in planning with you. For goals that are not yet achieved, you have identified potential "stepping stones" to get you there, and you have more than one possible way of doing it. You will also have goals that serve as "votes" for bringing you, your family, your community, and your world closer to their ideal state. Finaly, you will have rough estimates for the time and money it will take to put your plan into practice.

If you identified alternatives that yield pretty much the same benefits, then the choice of strategy is fairly simple: choose the one that has the lowest effort. Effort is the time and money that it takes you to do it, as well as others who are working on this plan with you. Often time will be the constraining factor, but if you don't have enough time, sometimes you can use money to buy someone's time to help you.

If the effort is about the same for different alternatives, you could revisit the benefits. Compare outcomes that yield the same benefits in order to judge if one alternative seems to have a slight benefit over the other.

Finally, you would select the stepping-stones and outcomes that you wish to pursue. Note that this choice is not "cast in stone." You could begin one strategy as an experiment, and change course if it isn't progressing as expected.

Fill in the Details

Thus far you have identified your strategy, but you aren't finished yet! Now is the time to work out the details.

For most of the outcomes you have arranged in the plan, you need to record the following:

Some outcomes in your plan might be achieved by following a policy rather than by any specific action that requires time or money. An example was given earlier about an ideal of "Having sources of information that you know you can trust." The plan was to vote for that outcome by being honest yourself. If you are honest already, that is not an action item, but rather it is a policy. We will get to policies in the next step in the Pathways method. In this step we are focusing on action items.

You can record action items in the planning tool of your choice, such as a personal organizer app or a project planner app, or even on paper (the old fashioned way!). Or, once again, you have the option of using the Pathways app to do it. If you do it using Pathways, all of your actions items are linked to the goals that they serve, so that you can verify if all goals are adequately covered. With Pathways, you can also print the information and export it to other tools, so you have lots of flexibility on how you do it.


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