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The power of “AND”

March 16, 2007

Try adding “AND” to your decision making and see if you don’t get better results.  How so?  Too often, we limit the depth of our thinking and creativity by considering only the choices on the surface.  We accept that our decision is an “OR”, that we may have one thing OR another.  

For example, “You can eat healthy, OR enjoy eating.”  For many people, the concept of healthy eating just isn’t appealing because it includes the foregone conclusion of a lot of assumptions.

  • Reduced portion sizes – will leave me feeling hungry and unsatisfied after a meal
  • The bias towards vegetables and proteins excludes many of my favorite foods
  • Most seasonings and sauces are high calorie, so the food will be bland and unappealing

 Based on these assumptions, the decision will be seen as an OR – I can eat healthy OR I can enjoy eating and feel satisfied.  But what if we change that OR to AND?  Let’s re-frame the question to be, “How can I eat healthy AND eat satisfying quantities of tasty food?”  Now this sets up a different situation, and forces an exploration of recipes that would meet the new criteria for high quality taste, nutritional content, and satisfactory quantity.

Look around us everyday, and witness too much “OR” decision making at work, and in our personal and home lives.  

Challenge:  Find one situation that is a decision for you to make today, where you must choose between two things you would like to have, and see if you can re-frame to include both.  See what kind of creativity this unlocks.  

Bonus challenge:  Find a situation where your decision is a take away from someone else (customer, friend, colleague) in favor of yourself or your employer, and see how that can be re-framed as “AND” to retain or improve the benefit to both.  Examine and redefine the benefits of the alternatives to see what’s really most valued, and perhaps new alternatives will present themselves.

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