Do you think too much and do too little? That is what paralysis by analysis is all about wrapped up in one sentence. Because of all the thinking, planning, imagining, we simply do not get things done. And it’s time to stop overthinking.
It is not that we are lazy – we simply overthink things way too much. And if that is true for you too, then it is time to find out how to overcome analysis paralysis. It is easy to get stuck in a rut when you think and think and think… and then think some more.
And of course, thinking is a good thing. It is good that we don’t must mindlessly do this and that. If we think first and try to assess what action is going to probably yield the best possible outcome with the least amount of work and time, then we are ready to do something that most people never do: work smart.
But after a certain point, it is time to give up the search for a “magic bullet”. In fact, most really successful people will tell you that the way they got to where they are today is not because they always made the right decision, or because they always did things the optimal way.
Most of the time, they simply gave things a try, did their best, made mistakes, learned from them, fell flat on their nose and got up again and kept on moving.
Action-oriented people get a lot farther in life than those who spend most of the time in their own head. And they usually are a lot happier too. Because it is only action that can really make a difference in this world.
And if we overthink things, then a funny thing happens: instead of getting more clarity, we end up with more though clutter, and we get more and more confused. And that diminishes our ability to make decisions.
In fact, people who suffer from analysis by paralysis almost always also suffer from indecisiveness.
The Fear of Failure
There is no way to avoid failure. In fact, if you manage to not make any mistake at all, you have failed completely, because it means that you never have set out to do something. The thing about failure is that you need to be able to brush it off, learn from it, and try again in a better way.
Obsessively Figuring Out What Other People Mean
Sometimes other people say something – and it could be interpreted in different ways. And then you might end up spending a lot of time trying to figure out and analyze what exactly they did mean. But the truth is, you can not find the answer in your own head.
If you want to know what they really meant, keep talking to them or just flat out ask them about it.
Giving yourself a certain amount of time to complete a task is a good way to do it. For example, if you have only thirty minutes to write a letter, there is no way that you will spend too much time to find the perfect letterhead, or spend two hours browsing through a thesaurus to come up with better words.
Simply get it done as best as you can in the time you set out to do for it. It might not be perfect – but even a badly written letter is better than no letter at all.
The most difficult thing about this issue is that you can not “force” yourself to stop overthinking things. Because your thinking mind is the problem. So you need help from your other mind – the mind that is not the reasoning, rational, logical part.
Unfortunately, this is also the part over which we have the least amount of control. That is why hypnosis is so powerful when it comes to overcoming analysis paralysis. You can program the other part of your mind to engage more and step in to tell your reasoning mind when it is time to stop overthinking and start acting.
“Decisions are destroyed by over-analysis… The more information you pile on, the less likely you are to make educated guesses. But educated guesses spring from wisdom: all of your past experiences, knowledge and knowhow, coupled with the most recent information and analysis. In other words, wisdom comes from your gut.”
- Jeff Stibel, Chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet