The Straw Man Concept is a useful tool in many settings. At times it may be just what you need to begin addressing a problem. What is a straw man?
A straw man is a preliminary solution, based on (1) incomplete information and (2) ideas that have not been fully thought through or developed. The point of the straw man is simply to provide a starting point for finding solid solutions.
For example, sometimes when I tackle a new topic for my column in Oncology Times, I find myself sitting with my fingers poised over the keyboard, hoping for the right words.
When that happens, I force myself to dash off an intro, a few paragraphs and a conclusion. Reading this rough draft helps me think about the issue in new and helpful ways. I usually end up deleting most (or all) of the original straw man.
Healthy Survivors face a variety of confusing or complicated situations. If you find yourself stuck, wanting desperately to make the "right" decision, consider making a straw man. This may guide you to ask useful questions and obtain useful information, as well as overcome the obstacles to making decisions and taking action.
Healthy Survivors don't make irreparable decisions or take irreparable steps based on a straw man. The straw man is simply a tool to help you begin working your way through to your best decisions that you do act on.
Your straw man doesn't have to be perfect, because you'll replace it with solid, well-thought-out solutions.