I could probably write a book about this and it would still fail to encapsulate how deeply myself and others have been affected by analysis paralysis. While I’ve had conversations with more people than I can count where they have told me that I overthink things, I know there are exponentially more of us out there that do just as I do and get stuck at times in life when it comes to making a decision or taking action.
One thing I’ve learned in the past year or two is that the decisions or actions we are faced with taking are never as controversial as they appear on the surface, in the moment. I used to find myself faced with an important choice and begin to think that, even if neither choice is necessarily wrong, my life could be dramatically changed in a negative way if I choose the lesser of the two (or more) options. Think about it this way: if you’re trying to decide which college to attend and they both offer the same degree program, when you have made the decision and look back, you’ll realize that you were better off just deciding and moving forward, regardless of which school you picked.
Here’s the thing, though: I absolutely don’t want to minimize or discredit your options because, in the example of college choices or other comparable scenarios, yes, there are pros and cons to consider and one choice may very well offer much more in the way of financial aid, career placement, or student support services, as an example. This is all to say that we can’t just put ourselves in a position where we have two or more choices and, in realizing that no matter which choice you make, it will all be good. It’s very important to write out your thoughts and even go as far as discussing the options with a trusted friend or mentor. You can’t just throw a dart at the wall with a blindfold on and hope you hit the board.
The thing about analysis paralysis is that we all have the tendency to stall our decision-making process and further hold ourselves back from reaching a goal. As I was saying earlier, I’ve learned lately that, while my wife and I have been at a really low point financially and stressed about things that we hope no one would ever have to worry about, as long as we are prayerfully following what God says in Scripture and maintaining a unified approach to the decisions in our life, we will come out the other side better. You have to be intentional and understand that sometimes taking too long to make a decision is far worse than making the wrong one.
“…sometimes taking too long to make a decision is far worse than making the wrong one.”
I talked a lot about this in my post titled, “25. The Other Side of Regret,” and shared a couple of stories about decisions that I had been faced with where I found myself remorseful in the end, if that’s even the right word. Sometimes you have to take time to really make sure that your decision is the right one, and I’ve found in many cases in my own life that if you decide to put the decision on hold and let some other things play out, you will find at times that the decision wasn’t even yours to make. Again, for fear of discounting your specific situation, I can’t really say that this applies to you without knowing what it is you’re facing. This is where a close friend or family member, or mentor, will come in handy. Allow them to come alongside you and assess the situation from their perspective and help to offer you insight that you may be too overwhelmed to notice. As in the story from “The Other Side of Regret,” where I went out on a limb with an overly-confident notion that I could find a better job in such a small town than the one I had currently with one of the bigger companies there. God made it a point to teach me a valuable lesson about preparedness and to realize that had I stayed, I would have seen that company acquire 4 other beer distributors in Georgia and one of the largest in South Carolina over the next few years and who knows what kind of career and money I would’ve had the privilege of experiencing.
As always, you can share about any particular situation you’re finding yourself in and get some feedback directly in the comments to this post and if you want to share it privately, you can e-mail me here and I would love to discuss whatever is on your heart or mind!
Just a side-note, if you saw my post from last week, “31. It’s Our Time,” you know that I am working on starting a podcast for my site and shifting to a more audio-focused format, with interviews, quotes, and more. I am working hard to get everything set up and line up the first several conversations with people that I think you will benefit from listening to. It’s a long and difficult process to get everything in place to launch a podcast, and I myself am experiencing some analysis paralysis with parts of this process. It is my prayer that, as long as I keep God at the center of this and focus on doing what He has called me to do through this site, that it will come together and you will get to experience some wonderful episodes in the coming weeks!
Until next Thursday, I hope you all have a great weekend and can focus on making the best decisions possible in your life!