“Either/or” is a lie. Yet it’s one of the most common lies that we tell ourselves. We think: “If I don’t do ‘A,’ then ‘B’ will happen. However, things are rarely that simplistic – there’s usually nothing stopping us from looking for a third option [or a fourth, fifth, or sixth]. Sometimes we simply fall into that thinking by trying to set up a mental “pros” and “cons” list. But sometimes the real cause of the thinking is to let us off the hook…

For example, if “Bill” is consistently late to your 6:30 worship rehearsal, you may think you have two options: cave in and put up with his tardiness, or kick him off the team. However, this sort of thinking ignores the most obvious first step – talk to Bill. It may be that it’s impossible for him to make it from work in time. The whole thing might be solved by simply moving rehearsal to 7pm, if that works for everyone else. 

If you really think about it, I’m guessing you’ll be surprised how much of your life is ruled by the “false dichotomy fallacy.” It’s everywhere in the news, and it’s not that easy to break out of it since it’s constantly reinforced in much of our life. A good first step? Take your either/or situation and say: “What would I do if I couldn’t do either option?” Of shoot for a list of five or more possibilities, instead of two…   

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