Do you ever find yourself analyzing a situation, interaction or decision you’ve made? You see yourself, the decision ahead, or how you responded to somebody. Seconds, minutes, sometimes days go by analyzing the situation, from different angles, different outcomes, choice points. I know I’ve experienced this before, feeling stuck in my brain, analyzing, thinking, literally paralyzed, unable to move.
Well, it actually has a name! Analysis Paralysis. It’s the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking). It’s where you find yourself in a situation where a decision feels too complicated, too many variables to look at. You feel paralyzed. A decision can’t be made, so a tangible action is never taken, preventing an outcome.
Analyzing situations isn’t a bad thing. I teach clients all the time how to evaluate a situation, analyze it, see the positive and negatives to help formulate a choice, a decision. Sometimes though, we get stuck in the analyzing step. Going back and forth, unable to come up with any decision. Frozen in time, analyzing.
What keeps you paralyzed? The worry that you will make the ‘wrong’ choice. Too afraid to not get it right. Everybody is seeking the optimal, ‘perfect’ solution(s). This need for perfection is debilitating. How do you even define perfect? This question helps you see that by seeking unrealistic, unattainable ‘perfect’ solutions- we are creating fear. Fear that any decision, could lead to a bad or not ideal result. Paralyzing the decision making process.
How long can you live in this state? How often do you get to this state? How do you get out of it?
To help avoid the pitfalls of analysis paralysis, here are helpful tips to keep in mind when inundated with too many outcomes:
Talk It Out.
Talking out-loud helps you get out of your own head. Giving you opportunity the hear your thoughts in a new way. Making those racing thoughts in your mind real. Creating an aha moment of: “Wow, that’s what I said!” You can also talk it out with someone else to help gain another perspective- a “sanity check”. Perhaps it will help you see things differently, challenge your perspective or the way you’re analyzing the situation, helping you make a decision.
Curb your curiosity.
One of the culprits contributing to analysis paralysis are the abundance of details. You keep digging deeper and deeper, looking for all the minute, often negative details. The more we dig, the more information we obtain & the longer we stay paralyzed. You easily get stuck in the “well, if I do X, then Y & Z happen. This can go on and on. Which is where the question, “if the ceiling were to open, what’s the worst that would happen?” The aim is to help gain perspective, thus curbing your curiosity. Figure out what information you have right now that helps you find an answer, and move forward. No matter what how much information you have, there will always be X, Y, Z.
Stair step your decisions.
Rather than looking at the decision to be made as a one-time, main event, consider smaller yet actionable decisions that can be made now or that lead up to the main one. Breaking the problem down into smaller, achievable steps shifts momentum and can lead to a positive snowball effect that helps you step out of paralysis associated with making the “perfect” decision.
Remember, nothing is perfect. Decisions are never final because change is never absolute. Rather, change is ongoing. So be brave, stop paralyzing yourself. There’s no wrong choice. There are lessons and growth from every decision we make. So, trust yourself & make that decision.