The Nirvana fallacy: when perfectionism leads to unrealistic solutions - Deepstash

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The Nirvana fallacy

The Nirvana fallacy is a form of perfectionism and it consists in comparing existing solutions with ideal, unrealistic ones.

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The “perfect solution fallacy”

The Nirvana fallacy is built on faulty reasoning, where an argument assumes that a solution should be rejected because some part of the problem still exists after the solution is applied.

People that fall prey to the Nirvana fallacy assume that a perfect solution does exist. In those cases, the Nirvana fallacy is a mix of wishful thinking and black-and-white thinking.

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False dichotomies

A false dichotomy is a thinking fallacy in which a statement wrongly assumes an either/or situation, when the two solutions are in fact compatible, or there is actually a third potential option.

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How to overcome the Nirvana fallacy

  • Focus on incremental improvements. Instead of aiming for the perfect solution, aim for a better solution. All these tiny improvements will compound, leading to massive changes over the long term.
  • Set intermediary deadlines. By setting intermediary deadlines, we can force ourselves to make tangible progress.
  • Keep your perfectionist mindset in check. Make time for self-reflection to understand why you are making certain decisions, or why you are not making progress on a specific project.

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