Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Perfection Fallacy

 Whenever the semester starts  I always send out an email to the students about the concept of the "perfection fallacy". The perfection fallacy is the belief by people that everything will always work out perfectly. A classic example is starting your car. You walk out in  the morning, put your key in the ignition and 99 times out of 100, it starts up perfectly. What do you do, though, on those extremely rare occasions when the key does not start the car? Keep turning it in the hope that eventually it will catch? Pound the dashboard and yell curses as if that will do any good? Do you have a back up plan for the rare times when that happens? Is the Uber app installed on your phone so you can call for a ride? Do you have a friend you can call to give you a lift?

In the case of a game store, what do you do if that order you expected to arrive does not show up? Most of the time they show up when expected but what do you do when they do not? Do you have a phone number to call to see where your product is or do you have another project to work on instead of checking in the shipment?

A common example I cite to students is setting aside time on Friday to finish up assignments, then finding out the internet crashed or they feel sick or their kids are sick? What happens then? The best way to avoid falling prey to the perfection fallacy is to plan ahead. If something has a deadline, endeavor to start it ahead of the deadline so that, if something interrupts, you still have time built into your schedule to accommodate the delay.

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