Overcome Your Analysis Paralysis and Live Fully
ANALYSIS PARALYSIS: The act of thinking too much about a decision, causing you to take no action at all.
I know many people who suffer from this. They can not choose a path, or they want to make an important decision but the importance of the decision paralyzes them with fear.
Luckily this isn’t something I struggle with anymore. I have implemented a few lifestyle changes in order to help me make tough decisions.
The root of analysis paralysis is fear. Fear of the unknown which often results in catastrophic thinking. The type of thinking that turns a mountain into a molehill. This thinking is like a runaway train, it begins at a somewhat reasonable location but quickly picks up speed and intensity. A simple decision like, do I apply to this job, can end in a snowball of hypotheticals that leaves you mentally paralyzed.
Here are a few simple tactics you can begin practicing in your daily life to help you overcome your analysis paralysis.
Whenever you cannot see a clear winner in a decision, and paralysis is beginning to set in, put together a pro/con list.
There will always be ups and downs to any decision. The key is to put your thoughts on paper or have a discussion with a friend. You want to remove the thoughts swriling around your mind and give them a place to reside.
When creating the pro/con list be unfiltered. This will help you see your catastrophic thinking if there is any, and provide you with a visual for the giant cloud you have formed in your brain of reasons why or why you should not do what you are thinking of doing.
After writing, let it sit for a day, then return to it tomorrow. Did you forget anything important? Look at the list and whichever has more pros, take action.
PRACTICE TAKING ACTION
In my life, this has been the most helpful. Just as with anything, the more you practice the less difficult it becomes.
I threw myself into the deep end, I sold all I had and got on a plane to Ireland after graduating from college. I had a goal to travel for two years, I knew where I was starting, but everything else was unknown. I took the plunge.
There were hundreds of moments where I had to make split-second decisions based on my gut instincts. In the begining these choices were hard, but as time went on I began to trust myself more. When you tune into yourself, making these types of decisions becomes easier and easier.
FIND YOUR NORTH STAR
Of course, I was scared at times, scared that I had made the stupidest decision of my life. However, for me, it was the best decision I could have ever made.
When fear set in my larger goal drove me. Do you have a larger goal that you are working towards? This can propel you forward when paralysis begins to set in.
Make your larger goal your northern star.
There are so many paths to help you arrive at your goal. You can easily become too caught up in the steps to reach a goal. Perhaps you have it in your mind that A + B = C when really A - D + E = C . Paths you never thought you would take appear. If you have your “North Star” it gets much easier to make a decision.
There will be times where you make the wrong decision.
In moments like this, you need to accept your humanity. We all make mistakes. The bigger the step towards your goal, the bigger the risk, the bigger the possibility of failure.
Without failure, you will never learn, you will never grow, you will never build the necessary tolerance that is needed to achieve a goal.
Build your resilience, and you can face anything life throws at you, but remember getting there is a process. You cannot create a diamond without immense pressure and heat. Otherwise, it is just a piece of coal.
In order to overcome your analysis paralysis, you have to face your fears, and learn to allow mistakes to be made. There are a few ways you can develop tolerance when making decisions that can have a big impact on your life.
- Begin by writing a pro/con list, be truthful to yourself even if you are scared.
- Practice, practice practice! The more you step outside of your comfort zone, the larger your comfort grows.
- Know where you are headed, what are your big goals and dreams, will this choice take you closer or further away from that goal?
- Have self-compassion. You will inevitably make a mistake or choose a path that you might later realize wasn’t the correct one, that is okay. The question becomes how can you respond in a productive manner, and not throw in the towel.