The Cure for Analysis Paralysis
Many times in life, we find ourselves at a crossroads when we need to pick a direction. Sometimes, it’s at a significant event such as a retirement, graduation, end of a job, beginning of a career, end of a relationship, and so on. Other times, it’s been brewing and is long overdue and just appears to be random when it’s not. The problem occurs when you become frozen. Fear has many similar qualities to quicksand. And sometimes, it’s not exactly fear but perfectionism that takes hold of our senses.
There was a saying in our house growing up: “Not to decide is to decide,” which evidently is courtesy of Harvey Cox. In a nutshell, it means you can’t put off the decision and think everything is static and won’t change in the absence of one.. If you don’t decide to go on vacation because you can’t narrow down where, with whom, when, you ostensibly decide not to go due to your indecision.
Occasionally, it is a good practice if you’re truly not sure what to do. It can help you figure out what you really want (or don’t, as the case may be). But, I am here to tell you, Analysis Paralysis is real, people. It can cause quite a bit of angst.
In business, there is a saying that “the 80 percent solution is better than no solution.” Hopefully, these are not your only two choices, but if they are, out the door is better than never done.
I have come to the conclusion recently (not for the first time, but it bears repeating, as I myself tend to forget it) that it is much better to try something rather than to do nothing (in most cases, that is). As in Business Law, I plead the Reasonable Person Defense. What would a reasonable person do in this situation? In other words, if you’re trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up,try something. The good news is you can rule a bunch of things out by finding out, “Well, that’s not it!”
I found myself in this situation recently when I was discussing a potential job with an employer. Then, I found myself asking about an entirely different job completely spur of the moment. And, guess what?! It was a leap of faith, somewhat out of left field. It was not the safe thing to do, and it certainly wasn’t “not deciding.”
I told the inertia to get lost and the fear to take a hike. I jumped right in and took on a position that would not necessarily have occurred to me to take, but given the opportunity and my past education, it actually is a fit.
So, fret not about making the wrong decision. Do some due diligence, say a little prayer, consult a trusted advisor, and then take a chance. You’ll be glad you did. I know I am.