I get a total kick out of that phrase. Analysis paralysis. It’s the most perfect way to describe how I feel about most decisions. At least, I used to. I guess less paralysis comes with more confidence.
Right now, as the Mr. and I go through the process of trying to buy a new home, I’M all of the sudden the partner who says, “I’m sure it’s fine. It’ll just work out. God will provide. Sure, we can make that number work!” It’s not my usual M.O.
I had a professor for my graduate degree who used to say being comfortable with ambiguity is a sign of maturity. And I always thought, “Well, crap.” Then, I’d think about what she said. And think about it… And you get the picture.
I went through the same process when deciding whether or not to become a network marketer… it took me just about a YEAR to finally think “sure, why not?” I wish I’d gotten over my paralysis sooner.
If you ask Mr. BQC, he’d probably say I was the poster child for over-analyzing everything. Luckily, he sees it as a strength sometimes (I hope, haha!). I don’t blame him. I worry over the budget. I worry over the groceries and our health. I worry over how to schedule time so we can accommodate everyone else. I worry more about the budget.
I’ve gotten much better since he came into my life. I make more decisions now than I ever used to. I make them in a timely fashion. Sometimes.
I HAVE to interrupt to share that Mr. BQC just tried to get me to decide what we’ll have for dinner, and I totally pawned off the decision on him. It’s a learning curve. No one gets it right all the time! Haha!
I think analysis paralysis comes from having a fixed mindset (as opposed to a growth mindset). Fixed mindsets and analysis paralysis go together like… everything that goes together well.
For the record, this is just one of many graphics on the issue. It’s news in the counseling world. Google it.
So, how do you know if you have analysis paralysis? And is there a cure? Good news. It’s identifiable and there’s a cure.
You probably already know if you have it. You looked at that graphic about fixed versus growth mindsets and thought, “yup, that’s me.” If you’re like me, it didn’t feel too exciting to realize. When you look at it that way, it makes it seem like we go through life terrified and never having any fun. People like us, we LOVE being right. We feel important when people can TRUST our word or our information. We can be helpful! We find pride in it. I choose to see it as going through life prepared and feeling secure.
I think we need people like me. If all the world were ready to act at the drop of hat, surely that would go awry. Right? Maybe. At least for the BIG decisions. I suppose the point is, they don’t all have to be BIG decisions. #lightbulbmoment
The problem with analysis paralysis is it usually results in missing an opportunity to start something awesome out of fear that it might not work or we might not be GOOD AT IT. Sure, we can always start later… but why not just dive on in? Of course, I do not condone diving headfirst into a decision that is dangerous or one that might adversely effect your family without first consulting them. I’m talking about decisions for YOU.
I’ve made it a goal to focus on improving my growth mindset…sorta like my confidence. It all goes back to trying something new. I know y’all are probably tired of me saying that…but it’s that important to me you get the message. If I had a photo of you being hit over the head with a message stick, it’d belong right here. I’d be holding the message stick.
Let’s get practical. What can you do to cure this analysis paralysis? Here are some tips, straight from my brain:
- Know that it’s okay if something doesn’t work (that sounds scary, I know).
- Surround yourself with people who love & support you even when it doesn’t work.
- Decide that if it doesn’t work, there’s probably going to be a chance to try it again, and the next time you’ll have more information about what not to do.
- (and this is the one I think is most important for MY life) Recognize that your value as a human being is NOT directly (or even at all) correlated to the amount of times you’re right. As long as you’re acting in good faith, it’s okay to be wrong.
Matthew Kelly, president and CEO of Dynamic Catholic is running a campaign during Lent. He calls it The Best Lent Ever. If you’re interested in some Lenten reflections and guidance, I highly recommend you check it out. The message delivered to my inbox this morning included thoughts on using the Bible to guide you in times of decision. He mentioned the clarity he finds in decision making when he reflects on this verse:
Mr. Kelly states, “if we put [seeking God’s kindgom] first in our decisions, so many other things will take care of themselves.” It sure takes the pressure off!
Sometimes being wrong hurts. We choose the wrong purchases or the wrong outfits to wear or sometimes even the wrong relationships.Sometimes being wrong takes longer to get over. But no matter what, we are always better off for having learned from being wrong.
I tell my students, “don’t let these tears [there are usually tears in my office, not mine] be wasted by not learning from it.” So, the same goes for me. And you.
My unsolicited advice is to start small. Is there something you’re thinking about changing? Eating habits? A new career? The color of your living room walls? None of these have to be permanent. Pick something. Start there.