Descartes’ square for decision making

Descartes' square for making the right decisions in lifeThe wise Descartes Square for making the right decisions in life is again popular, and for good reason. Modern life is about new technologies, innovative formulas, a frantic rhythm, an avalanche of discoveries, to which we do not have time to get used to, as they are already outdated. Every day we are faced with hundreds of problems that require immediate solutions – common everyday and sudden complex ones. And, if easy everyday tasks rarely baffle us, then we have to puzzle over serious life tasks, consult with friends and even look for answers on the Web.

But an easy way to make the right decisions has long been invented!

The content of the article:

  1. A bit of history: Square and its founder
  2. Technique for making the right decisions
  3. Decision making example

A bit of history: about Descartes’ square and its founder

The 17th century French scientist Rene Descartes was famous in a wide variety of fields, from physics and mathematics to psychology. The scientist wrote his first book at the age of 38 – but, fearing for his life against the background of the unrest associated with Galileo Galilei, he did not dare to publish all his works during his lifetime.

Rene Descartes
Rene Descartes

Being a versatile person, he created a method for solving the problem of choice, showing the world Descartes square

Today, when choosing a therapy, this method is widely used even in neurolinguistic programming, contributing to the disclosure of human potential inherent in nature.

Thanks to Descartes’ technique, you can learn about your hidden talents, desires and aspirations.

What is Descartes’s square and how to use the method?

What is the French scientist’s method? Of course, this is not a panacea and not a magic wand, but the technique is so simple that it is included in the list of the best and most demanded today for the problem of choice.

With Descartes’ square, you can easily and easily establish the most significant choices, and then you can assess the consequences of each of the choices.

Are you wondering if you should quit your job, move to another city, do business, or have a dog? Are you plagued by “vague doubts”? What is more important – a career or a child, how to make the right decision?

Use Descartes’ square to get rid of them!

Video: Descartes Square

How to do it?

  • We take a sheet of paper and a pen.
  • Divide the sheet into 4 squares.
  • In the upper left corner we write: “What will happen if this happens?” (or “pluses of this solution”).
  • In the upper right corner we write: “What will happen if this does not happen?” (or “the pros of abandoning your idea”).
  • In the lower left corner: “What will not happen if this happens?” (cons of the decision).
  • In the lower right: “What will not happen if this does not happen?” (cons of not making a decision).

We consistently answer each question – point by point, in separate 4 lists.

What it should look like – an example of deciding on Descartes’ Square

For example, you are tormented by the question – whether to quit smoking. On the one hand, it is so good for your health, but on the other hand … your habit is so close to you, and do you need this freedom from nicotine addiction?

We draw Descartes’ square and solve the problem with it:

Descartes' square for making the right decisions in life

1. What if this happens (pros)?

  1. Saving the budget – at least 2000-3000 rubles per month.
  2. Legs will stop hurting.
  3. Healthy skin color will return.
  4. The unpleasant smell from hair and clothes, from the mouth will go away.
  5. Immunity will increase.
  6. The risk of developing lung cancer will decrease.
  7. There will be fewer reasons (and expenses) to go to the dentist.
  8. Breathing will be healthy again, and lung capacity will be restored.
  9. They will stop tormenting bronchitis.
  10. Your loved ones will be happy.
  11. It will be a great example of a healthy lifestyle for your children.

2. What will happen if this does not happen (pros)?

  1. You will save your nervous system.
  2. You will still be able to cheerfully “pop” with colleagues in the smoking-room under a cigarette.
  3. Morning coffee with a cigarette – what could be nicer? You don’t have to give up your favorite ritual.
  4. Your beautiful lighters and ashtrays will not have to be gifted to friends who smoke.
  5. You will have your “assistant” in case you need to concentrate, kill hunger, drive away mosquitoes, while away the time.
  6. You will not gain 10-15 kg, because you will not have to seize your stress from morning to evening – you will remain slim and beautiful.

3. What will not happen if this happens (disadvantages)?

In this square we enter the points that should not intersect with the upper square.

  1. The pleasure of smoking.
  2. Opportunities to run away under the pretext of smoking.
  3. Take a break from work.
  4. Opportunities for distraction, calm down.

4. What will not happen if this does not happen (disadvantages)?

We assess the prospects and consequences. What awaits you if you give up the idea of ​​quitting smoking?

So, if you do not quit smoking, you will not …

  1. Opportunities to prove to yourself and everyone that you have willpower.
  2. Healthy and beautiful teeth.
  3. Extra money for pleasure.
  4. A healthy stomach, heart, blood vessels and lungs.
  5. Opportunities to live longer.
  6. A normal personal life. Today, many are switching to a healthy lifestyle, and a partner with bruises under the eyes, yellow skin and fingers, the smell of cigarettes from the mouth and incomprehensible spending on “poisons from Philip Morris”, as well as a bouquet of nicotine “sores”, is unlikely to be popular.
  7. Opportunities to save even for a small dream. Even 3,000 rubles a month is already 36,000 a year. There is something to think about.
  8. A worthy example for children. Your children will also smoke, considering it the norm.


To make Descartes’ square even more visual, put down a number from 1 to 10 to the right of each inscribed item, where 10 is the most significant item. This will help you assess which points are most important to you.

Video: Descartes Square: How to Make Informed Decisions

What should be remembered using the Descartes technique?

  • Formulate thoughts as clearly, fully and openly as possible. Not “in general”, but specifically, with the maximum number of points.
  • Don’t be intimidated by double negatives on the last square. Often people are confused by this part of the technique. In fact, here you need to focus not on feelings, but on specific consequences – “If I don’t do this (for example, I don’t buy a car), then I will not have (a reason to prove to everyone that I can pass the license; opportunities are free move, etc.).
  • No verbal answers! Only the points set out in writing will allow you to visually assess the problem of choice and see the solution.
  • The more points, the easier it will be for you to make a choice.

Train constantly with this technique. Over time, you will be able to make decisions quickly, without being tormented by the problem of choice, making mistakes less and less and knowing all the answers in advance. website thanks you for your attention to the article! We will be very pleased if you share your feedback and tips in the comments below.

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