Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
Where are you on this spectrum? Fly by the seat of your pants? Or are you at the other end, with me? How can you know where you fall?
Which would be your response to the following question:
“Want to take a trip to Ireland?”
“Sure! Sounds great! Let’s go!”
“Maybe. Sounds fun, but when would we go? How long will the trip be? Where will we stay? Is that the best option for a destination? There are a lot of other places I want to see. Who will be going on the trip? Should we invite anyone else? How many people would be good to travel with? How do we decide whom to invite? Will anyone’s feelings be hurt if they aren’t invited? How much will it cost? Will the time and financial commitment interfere with other things I want to do? What’s it like in Ireland? Is it safe? Easy to get around? Would a guided tour be better, or plan it our ourselves? What are my options? If I don’t go to Ireland, what could I do instead? Exploring castles sounds fun, and seeing Kerry County. But, it will cost a lot of money, and involve leaving the country…passports, flights, yadda yadda. I don’t know if I want to go or not. I can’t decide.”
It’s crazy, isn’t it? The process involved for me to make a decision is often mind-boggling. From selecting dishes, to planning vacations, to choosing a house, to picking a restaurant for Friday night dinner, I usually travel hundreds of thought miles before reaching a destination. What’s even crazier is that my wanderings often don’t end up at a destination at all. I must analyze, weigh each alternative, look at every angle, list the pros and cons, deliberate, debate, doubt and second-guess, until I’ve exhausted every option and exhausted myself (and those around me, I’m sure.) The result: a state of indecision, trapped in the mesh of the myriad possibilities I’ve created in my mind, playing out various scenarios, trying to think through everything thoroughly.
The result: Analysis Paralysis.
Afraid of making a bad decision, it’s hard to make any decision at all. So immersed in analysis, I’m frozen in place.
Whatever I choose, I’ll have to live with forever. So serious. (See previous post.)
So afraid of regret, I end up with regret over my inability to decide. How ridiculous is that?
Anyone out there in cyberspace relate to this? Or are you all chilling down at the other end of the spectrum? Foot-loose and fancy-free? Making decisions willy-nilly. Anything goes. Just goin’ with the flow. Jumping at any opportunity. No scale must be tipped in a lengthy decision-making process. There is no scale.
I sometimes envy you. How can it be so easy for you? I sometimes dislike you. How can you simply say yes, without considering the consequences?
I suppose my cautious, over-thinking, planning, analyzing mind has saved me from some bad decisions. I suppose it has also made (what should be) easy decisions difficult, and given me grief. I suppose I have analyzed this topic enough to know a happy medium must exist that would be good to find. Or, perhaps not. Maybe I need to be this way to balance out all of you Yes-men out there. Someone has to keep things in order.
Are you stuck in Analysis Paralysis too? I wish I could help get you unstuck, but I think in the process we’d both come unglued. I will simply pass along what I have learned so far.
- Most of the things I agonize over won’t matter 100 years from now. We need to remember that. Many of the decisions that paralyze me won’t even matter 10 years from now. It would be good to remember that too. Dare I say a lot won’t even matter one year from now? Good to consider.
- We are missing out on the freedom we don’t see we have. We are so afraid of making the wrong choice, we may not see there is no single right one. Many times, there are multiple good choices. It’s ok. Just pick one. Even if it turns out there might have been a better one, it’s still a good one, not bad.
- No decision is a decision too.
If you are my polar opposite, I have but one request. On second thought, make that two.
1. Be patient with those of us who take a bit longer to come to conclusions.
2. Please help me decide when I should end this article.
Is here good?
Maybe there is a bit more to discuss.
Perhaps I’ve said my piece.
8 thoughts on “Analysis Paralysis”
I know we have joked about this before (when deciding where to go eat!), but I didn’t realize just how similar we are! You have articulated very well what I experience too.
Thanks, Sara. I’m glad someone can relate. Or, maybe I should say, I’m sorry someone can relate? 🙂
I think you know which end of the spectrum I am on. I do believe there is a happy medium out there somewhere, and I hope I do take at least a second or third thought when making super major decisions. As for you, I think you pretty much answered your own question is – thank about the alternatives but then just pick one that would be good even though in the long run it might not have turned out to be the best. After all, I married your father without analyzing it to death and that worked out pretty well, didn’t it?😍
Yes, Mom, that did turn out pretty well. Thanks!
Kerry, very well articulated. You describe in detail the one thing about my father that frustrated my mother. She didn’t make snap decisions and dive in, but my father did the analysis until it always turned into paralysis. He could rarely pull the trigger on the big decisions while it still made sense to do so. I learned that eventually no decision is a decision because your options are gone. In middle age, I figured out that, while it is important to make the best decision, there are really very few decisions that are completely irreversible if you make a mistake. So on those that are significant and completely irreversible, I am careful to complete the analysis to the nth degree. Otherwise, it is sufficient to identify the most crucial factors, and find the best decision that addresses those factors favorably. Then project the risk if the decision turns out to be wrong. If you can accept the risk, move forward. It wouldn’t be the first mistake you ever made, and probably won’t be the last. (You can choose a better restaurant next Friday.)