Instead of either/or

Do you have a hard time making decisions? When faced with two equally positive or negative options have you ever felt stuck?

Most of us at sometime in our lives have been paralyzed by the thought of having to choose between door one and door two. Here’s an idea that might help:

Instead of either/or, add one more

Huh? I know it sounds odd, and is counterintuitive, but it works . . .  

Instead of either/or, add one more!

The idea is not mine, but making it a cute little rhyme is. (And, as silly as the rhyme sounds, it’s more memorable, and I think it’s a line worth remembering.)

Instead of either/or, add one more.

Picture this, you’ve inherited a huge sum of money, never have to work again, and have been house hunting for months. You finally found two homes you love, and although they are very different each offers you a lifestyle you have always wanted. You can’t decide whether to go with the brownstone in Manhattan or the cattle ranch in Colorado and rich as you are, you can’t afford both. 

Or, you have two great job options, life coach in Florida or actress in Hollywood – naw, that one is way too easy, I’d choose being a life coach, anywhere! But, I digress.

I was recently reading brothers Chip and Dan Heath’s book “Made to Stick”, and their comments about the paradoxes of how we decide things, led me to come up with my little ditty:

Instead of either/or, add one more. 

The decision-making research they cited reveals the value of adding one more choice to an either/or mix. Adding “one more”, helps us prioritize, which makes it easier for us to recognize what we truly prefer. We tend to think that by making things black or white, or narrowing down our choices to just two – this or that, we are making things easier on ourselves, but the opposite may be true. It appears that is easier for us to choose, when we look at and compare three options rather than two.

EX: Brownstone in Manhattan, cattle ranch in Colorado, and beach house in Florida. Did the picture get any clearer for you, it did for me. 

  • Manhattan/Colorado/Florida

Comparing three options rather than two, changes the way we think, and may lead us to faster and even less regrettable decisions. (It’s easy to spend our lives regretting either/or decisions; I think comparing three options reduces the drama, which may in turn reduce lingering regrets.)

So what would you choose, brownstone, ranch, beach house? There are no wrong answers, pick what appeals most to you.

Try applying the rhyme this weekend if you are faced with any either/or dilemmas. It works well on big or little stuff.

My most immediate dilemma is, do I want coffee or tea? Adding one more, a Mimosa sounds good, it’s Friday, and the weekends begin early on the Southwest Coast of Florida . . .

I chose the coffee, adding the Mimosa sounded wonderful, but within seconds of adding the option I realized that a perfect cup of coffee was what I really wanted. 

PS “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die” ” is a great book; I will be sharing more about it in future posts.

WTW Dandelion

2 Responses to “Instead of either/or”

  1. Up next « Wishful Thinking Works: Create the life you really want Says:

    […] my friends and “family” here, as it was to leave my family and friends in the States. Change and courage go hand in hand with each new adventure. We can never be certain where our journeys […]

  2. Heather Says:

    This is what happened to me when I was faced with my dilemma about where to go for my master’s internship! in that case, my “add one more” ended being – think about changing the TIMING of the experience! :)


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