OGDEN -- Former Utah Gov. Michael O. Leavitt on Friday gave the commencement speech at the 137th Weber State University commencement.
Leavitt, who was awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities, congratulated students on their achievement, and told them their future would be determined by the decisions they make.
"We all make life-changing decisions, and these decisions, more than our circumstances, change our life," Leavitt said.
Leavitt told students that in spring of 2003, when he was considering whether to accept a George W. Bush administration post as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, he went through a five-step decision-making process that they might find helpful.
Leavitt said he wrote himself a memo, which was the first step. Putting the question in writing helped clarify it in his mind, he said.
Step two was to identify his uncertainties, and shrink them. Leavitt talked to family members about how a move to Washington, D.C., would Affect them. He talked to a friend who was a Washington insider about living in the nation's capital.He talked to trusted friends about whether Utahans would feel abandoned. He checked his own list of goals for Utah, to see what was left to accomplish.
Step three was examining his biases. Leavitt advised graduating students to consider their emotional state, because decisions made when a person is angry, depressed, infatuated or desperate often are bad decisions.
Step four was to seek counsel from trusted friends and associates, to gain additional perspective on the situation.
And step five was to decide when you will decide. Leavitt said as a governor appointing judges, it gave him greater peace to sleep on the issue and announce in the morning. He rarely changed his mind about an appointment, Leavitt said, but he always felt better about decisions if he gave them the proper time.
Leavitt also told students that not all their decisions will be good, but bad decisions are part of life, would add to their depth of experience, and teach them how to make better decisions in the future.
The Weber State class of 2011 had more than 3,600 graduates.