Monday, September 24, 2012

Progress Live Demonstration - Channel 4 The Audience - Series 1 Episode 3 Live Blog


I'll be writing updates in blue 
This dilemma turned out into something a bit different - however hope this entry is still useful in that it shows steps that would be taken in a normal decision

Tonight is the third episode of Channel 4's Reality decision-making show, The Audience.

 So far we know this:
The Audience meet Anthony Powell, a 28-year-old office worker from Liverpool. He needs help to make the biggest decision of his life: whether to quit his job and go travelling.
At first, his dilemma appears simple, but as the group of 50 strangers get to know Anthony they unearth a deeper story from his past about his upbringing and the grief he endured when he was younger.
The Audience force Anthony to confront the heart of the issue - the loss of his parents - and talk openly about it for the first time in his life.
And for The Audience, it brings out hidden emotions and forces some of them to reflect deeply on their own lives.


Click on this link tonight at 2100 for a live blog of the programme using Progress (

Tonight we are going to do something that we've never tried before. We are going to do a live demonstration of Progress, the wise decision making procedure, but with a twist.

Usually when using Progress I am in the same room as the person who is wrestling with the decision, or sometimes we are on the other end of Skype lines. Either way, I can ask them questions.

Tonight I won't be able to do any of this, because the decision-maker is Anthony from the Audience. As we hear his story tonight from 900pm on Channel 4, I will be writing a Progress report on his dilemma, and in addition identifying the questions I would like to ask him.

You will be able to follow this live by having this post up on your browser and hitting F5 for refresh. I will also be posting my thoughts on twitter - follow @timlebon to see these.

I look forward to tonight's programme...


This procedure integrates insights and methods from philosophy and psychology to help you find a solution to your decision which satisfies as much as possible of what matters. You work through the following 5 stages, writing down your answers in this template as you go along
1) Understanding the Situation and Framing the Decision-Problem
2) Understanding what matters
3) Searching for Options
4) Choosing the Best Option
5) Implementing the Decision.

For a relatively simple decision, you can do this in maybe an hour or less on your own. More complex decisions will require more time and possibly someone to bounce ideas off and facilitate the process.

a)  Initial overview
i) What is the decision you would like to work on?
 Anthony needs help to make the biggest decision of his life: whether to quit his job and go travelling.
ii) Name some options that you’ve already thought of.
1.  stay in job
2.  quit job and go travelling                                                  

iii) What have you been doing regarding the decision so far? Please indicate whether you’ve done any or all of the following
i)              Worrying about the decision.
If you do this, for roughly how many minutes per day?

ii)             Talking to other people about the problem.
If you do this, what has been the effect of this?

iii)            Finding out information.
If so, what have you discovered so far?

iv)           Trying not to think about it..
If so, what do you do (drinking, taking drugs, smoking, immersing yourself in work or some other activity are some things people do so avoid thinking about a decision)

v)            Making a decision but then changing my mind
If this has happened to you, what has made you change your mind?

vi)           Are there any other things you are doing (helpful or otherwise) to help you cope with your situation?

 iv) Briefly write down your situation, as if you were describing it very briefly for someone who didn’t know the situation all.
1. 28 year old office worker from Liverpool

2. Parents died when he was 7 and 13, moved in with grandparents until he was 18

3.he has a steady girlfriend

4.has mates and enjoys football. Lives with brothers, goes on holiday with them. Never went abroad

5.wants to go to South East Asia

6.doesnt know what he would do when he gets back

7.hasnt talked in depth with his brothers about it, thinks they would support him
******************************************************************* the next 2 are Audience speculation rather than hard facts

8.has a bare house - does he feel empty? (The Audience speculation!)

9. More Audience speculation/ and interpretation - has he not dealt with losses and may be running away???
10. travelling has been a dream all his life (according to friend)

11 may be not travelling because of money (according to friend)

12 Before Xmas when he was 7, mum had a bug and went to hospital. Brothers were kept away. He thought she getting better, but dad came home and told him his mum had died - didnt believe it at first

13 dad drank a lot after mum died - dad died unexpectedly again

14 thinks a lot about the deaths (rumination?)

15 Anthony hasn't really processed the grief from his losses fully

b) Making sense of your emotions
It’s really important to pay attention to your heart as well as the head.  Emotions can confuse us or overwhelm us, but they can also help us to understand what matters to us. For example, when you feel excitement at the prospect of  meeting a friend, this makes sense because you anticipate enjoying your friend’s company, and your excitement tells you that you value that friendship. So in this example your emotion helps you understand what matters to you. At other times, however, emotions can lead us astray. For example, after a row with your partner you may tell yourself that he or she does not really love you, when the evidence suggests the contrary, and your anger is biasing you against this evidence. By looking calmly at the emotions relating to your decision and their context it is possible to understand emotions better, deciding whether to take note of , or try to transform, emotions and their messages.

i)What do you feel about the situation, what is the emotion about and how strongly do you feel it?

Examples of emotions include:-
anxious, excited, depressed, angry, hopeful, worried, concerned, happy, guilty, proud, nervous, irritated, frightened, down,

            Emotion                                   About                           Strength (1-10)
e.g.I am anxious that I may never find the right romantic partner
1.scared of leaving job
2. bored with job
3.upset when talking about his parents and grandparents dying
4. feels guilty about not going down to help dad 

ii) Sometimes are emotions change depending on our mood and our present intentions. What else have you been feeling about this situation when either your mood or intentions have been different?
ii) What values lie behind each emotion listed in both i) and ii) above
e.g The values that lie behind this concern are: intimate relationship, having children
iii) Is there any information that I may be missing because I am feeling this emotion?
e.g  I am forgetting that I am often happier when I am not in a relationship
       I am forgetting that there are a lot of prospective partners out there.

c) Taking stock of the situation

i) What do you now want to add or subtract anything to  from  your ‘headline’ account of the situation above?
New headlines

ii) What is the decision you would most like to work on now?
Audience decided that Anthony's real problem was not coming to terms with his grief and that once he'd realised that, it wouldn't feel so important whether he travelled or not

i) Initial thoughts
Begin by jotting down some of objectives and values you would like to see satisfied by the decision (for example, being happier, being more fulfilled)
Hint: If you have looked at this decision using other methods eg Pros and Cons, they can help you with this list as you will implicitly be using your objective to assess options.
My objectives are:
e.g. my objectives are “be well paid, have a lot of freedom, make a difference”
1. I want to do something that makes me feel I have lived 

ii) Creatively thinking up other things that matter

a) What do you advise a good friend placed in a similar position?

b) What sort of person would you like to be in this situation?
(e.g. honest, creative, courageous, wise , rational,  moral,  calm)

c) What do your emotions tell you about what matters?
(look back at your work on the emotions in part 1)

d) Looking ahead in  one year, 5 years and from the perspective of sitting in your rocking chair near the end of your life, what do you think might be most important about this decision?
i) 1 years time

ii) 5 years time

iii) End of my lifetime

e)  Sometimes it’s helpful to take a step back away from this decision and think about what matters to you in life in general.

i)Forgetting about this decision for a moment, what matters to you in life?
This statement will usually consist of a list of values (e.g. happiness, flow) Examples  of such statements are-
·         Love, acceptance and the freedom to be who you want to be without judgement.
·         Kindness and honesty; independent thought and tolerance towards dissent
·         Find something you enjoy doing; like your life depended on it.  And having the opportunity to do it.

ii) Often a series of thought experiments and questions can throw further light on our values.  Here are some questions that may help you develop your view of what matters to you most in life.

1.Who do you admire/envy?
What does your answer tell you about your values?
2.Who do you feel is missing out?
What does this answer tell you about your values?
3.Describe your perfect day (this doesn’t have to have been an actual day)
What does your answer tell you about your values?
4.Looking back from the end of your life in your “rocking chair”, how would you have liked to live it?
 What does this answer tell you about your values?

Is this decision at all relevant to you satisfying any of these important values in your life?

Which ones?

iii) Thinking about  the other parties involved  (if any)
a) Write down the names of other parties involved, and their interests and rights relating to this situation.

b) Does this list suggest other things that matter to you in this situation (for example duties you might have, or objectives you might consider)

Write down your objectives that now appear to matter most.
Rate them from 10 (most important) to 0 (least important)  Rating (0-10)
Objective 1:
Objective 2:
Objective 3:
Objective 4:

Objective  n:

a) Looking at the options you wrote down in stage 1, and what matters most from stage 2, start to brainstorm possible solutions. At this stage, don’t veto options on grounds of quality, just say aloud and write down ideas that spring to mind. Then write down some of the ideas that seem most promising.
1. finish current job and then go travelling (brother's suggestion)
2.go travelling with girlfriend
3.go travelling on own
4.stay in current job
5. move in with girlfriend, do some travelling with her

Are there any new options that perhaps combine existing options and hence satisfy more of what matters?

Choose some of the most promising options and record them in the first column below.

Objective 1
Objective 2
Objective 3
Objective 4






For each option, put a tick if in a grid if it fulfils each objective, a cross if it fails.
If you are not sure whether it fulfils the objective, try to estimate the probability of it fulfilling it.
What further information do you need before you can be more sure? How can you find this out?
Do you need to try some things out? If so, how can you do this?
Try playing devil’s advocate about your preferred option. What could go wrong? How could you find out whether these concerns are to be taken seriously? What can you do to mitigate them?

If you are having difficulty estimating a probability, do your best to make a rough guess as this will be more useful than saying you are completely uncertain.

Choose the option which satisfies most of the important objectives.

i) When is the best time to implement this decision?

ii) If you are having problems implementing this decision now, ask yourself
a) What is the cost of delaying a decision?

b)What are you feeling now, and how can you make sense of these emotions?

c) Is there something you can do to move in the direction of a decision

iii) Once you  about to implement the decision, ask yourself
i)What follow-up activities would help this solution work?

ii) What obstacles might hinder carrying out the solution?

how can each obstacle be overcome?

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