According to my source (my boss, during a motivational speech on making decisions logically), the SV booster rocket that takes the space shuttle into orbit, was originally conceived to be broader than its current 12-foot diameter. Originally designed for use with the Saturn V rocket for extra thrust, the booster could be more effective if it were only a few feet wider.

But the manufacturer had to ship the thing by rail to the launch site. The diameter was limited by the width of tunnels along the railroad. The tunnels' widths were determined by the gauge of the railroad tracks.

The gauge of American railroad tracks was determined by the gauge of European railroad tracks.

The gauge of European tracks was determined by the ruts in the roads common in Europe before widespread road pavement and rail travel.

The ruts had been formed by horse-drawn wagons, the gauge of which was based on the ancient Roman chariot.

The gauge of the Roman chariot was such because the wheels needed to be that far apart to accommodate the breadth of two horses.

My boss' conclusion: the SV booster, the most advanced form of propulsion known to man, is the way it is because of a horse's ass in Rome.

Not sure how much of this actually makes sense, but it's good thought-food when pondering how to do a new thing if you wish to avoid automatically basing your idea on how things where done in the past.


1) Define the problem:

Ask yourself: Just what situation am I being faced with here? Do I see the current situation clearly?

2) Gather information:

Ask yourself: What information do I need to help make a good choice? Who can I ask for some advice or ideas regarding this? Who has experience in these matters that I trust to give me some good advice? Where else could I go for additional information that could help? What kind of time frame am I dealing with?

3) Examine all alternatives:

Ask yourself: What choices or alternatives are there?

4) Weigh the consequences:

Ask yourself: What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of the choices/alternatives? Who might my choices affect other than me?

5) Consider values and pressures:

Ask yourself: How do my values fit in with this? Is my choice legal or illegal? Is it dangerous? Is it appropriate? Does my choice go along with who I am and what I believe? Am I making a choice to be popular or look cool? Am I making a choice because I'm trying to "fit in"? What would my mom or dad or wife think about this?

Kinds of pressure that may influence your choice: Family pressure? Peer pressure? Media pressure? Self pressure? Societal pressures? (culture, religion, etc.)

6) Decide and plan:

Ask yourself: What decision and action plan have I decided on? Is my plan thorough? + Does it overlook something? Are the steps of my plan in a logical order?

7) Evaluate:

Ask yourself: How was my choice? What should I modify to stay on target and achieve my goal (if anything)? If faced with a similar situation, what would I do the same or differently?

Condensed Steps:

1) State the situation
2) List the options
3) Weigh the possible outcomes
4) Consider your values
5) Make a decision and act
6) Evaluate the decision

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