"The thanksgiving session was awesome, and thanks so much for it and for everything you said. I really am going to throw my life in a backpack and go to New Zealand--I told my family about it and everything--probably right after next Christmas. A good friend might actually come too! So thanks for getting me to stop thinking about it and actually do something. I feel like that might be a common overachiever problem, overanalyzing to the point where you are paralyzed by the options..."As a fellow overachiever, I completely agree. Even the best of us occasionally get stymied by our own "Paralysis by Over-Analysis." We find ourselves trapped in our own decision-making process... mulling over the pro's and con's, carefully deliberating on the best options, and trying to be sure make the "right" decision.
Most of us suffer from "Paralysis by Over-Analysis" at some point in our lives - Do I need a new job? Should I go back to school? Or maybe work a few year to save up money? Would I like to move to a new city? Do I want to stay in this relationship? Is it ok to spend this much money on this?
Since none of these have a "right" or "wrong" answer, we can waste a lot of time trying to optimize our decision. We don't have perfect information so we have to go with what we've got. But as overachievers, we always want to do (or have) the best, so when we're not sure of what that is, paralysis sets in.
Frozen in this state, we've temporarily lost our ability to make choices. We end up just "doing what we've been doing" as a default and become even more frustrated with ourselves and unhappy with our situation. And that's the last thing we want!
Since life is about being happy and creating the life you want, here are a few decision-making philosophies that I've come across that might help you in your next "Paralysis by Over-Analysis" moment:
- Make a decision, and then make it the right one. (Wisdom from a former boss...whatever you decide, go with it entirely. Don't look back or second-guess yourself.)
- If you make a decision to do something now, you can always make another decision later to change something if it's not working. (This way you're making a decision now, with the option of making another decision later... 2 decisions vs. indecision!)
- Right or wrong, do it at 100%. (Wisdom from a former rugby coach...Even if you screw up, do it at 100%. People will see your courage and respect you for trying.)
- Go easy on yourself if you do make a mistake. The world goes on and hopefully you've learned something from it. (According to Jack Welsh, it's how you recover from the mistake that's important!)
- Have you ever found yourself in a state of "Paralysis by Over-Analysis"?
- What have you learned about decision-making that you could share?