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John Adair's 100 Greatest Ideas for Smart Decision Making by John Adair

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Idea 35: Avoid an either/or mindset

When your enemy has only two options open to him you can be sure that he will choose the third.

Otto von Bismarck, Prussian statesman

The human tendency to dichotomize – to separate into two – is reflected in the way in which the word alternative (which means literally one or other of two things, the choice of one implying the rejection of the other) has come to be used instead of possibility (of which there can be many). We see life in terms of alternatives rather than possibilities, and are not aware that we are doing so.

Visualizing or recognizing a dichotomy because one is wearing mental blinkers must not be confused with the scanning process, whereby many courses of action or possible decisions are steadily ...

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