Analysis Paralysis and How to Make Better Decisions

By August 18, 2015Uncommon choices
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Making decisions can be tough.

A bad habit, which I sometimes I get myself into is always trying to make the best decision. As a result, a fanatic case of analysis paralysis sets in.

A classic case of this on a micro scale, would be at Whole foods.

You may find me, feeling up the best fruit and veg on the isle.I will not settle for second best, and I will do everything I can to find the best cucumber or avocado for several minutes, and then maybe questioning if it was the best one.

I am my own worst enemy sometimes when making decisions. Alas, we are not all perfect.

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Putting that aside. Here is my advice when it comes to analysis paralysis, making decisions and seeking advice. I believe somewhat they all fall into the same category eventually.1) Making a decision, is better than having someone else make the decision for you. 

Different decisions will take you down different paths.  Despite having the option. I did not make a decision when I attended my first University and there for it was made for me. This cost me a year to correct in the process. If you have the option to make the a decision, which is a privilege in its self, you must make a decision.

Once you have decided, it is now your duty to make the best of the decision you have made. This does two things:

a) Prevents “what if” scenarios which may lead to chronic back and forth changes in your mind.

b) Removes that feeling of “living with regret.”

2) I should have done this, so you should do that. 

When it comes to seeking advice. It should never be out of the interest of the person you are seeking it from. It should be out of your best interest. Let’s say you are seeking career advice, and the chap who you are having coffee with says something like; “I think a great career for you would be in sales in the financial market, I have had a fantastic career, so I think you should do that.”

Or, “I wish I went traveling in my 20’s and do really cool stuff like see the world, and live my life and do skydiving.”

Slap both of these people, to wake them up.

There has to be context for someone to advise you on, and it really shouldn’t even be advice on what you should or should not do, the person whom you seek insight from should be extracting the best decision out of you, and a path which best suits your interest of what to do. Not theirs. “I think you should do this” or “do that because I did not.” Beware.

 3. The media manipulation – The true “value” of a catchy headline

It feels like never ending musket balls hitting your forehead. I am talking about all the mind numbing shit that flys into your attention on a day-to-day basis. If you have not seen a dozen already today, here are some I woke up to just this morning from. Compliments of Business Insider.

“7 ways to dominate your 20s.”

“5 accessories every modern man should own.”

“6 ‘healthy habits’ you’re better off giving up.”

“15 Productivity tricks to increase your output.”

“7 sentences successful people never say”

“10 things you can learn in 10 minutes that will change your life”

Exactly

Exactly

As tempting as these analytical tracked titles are, before clicking them, ask yourself “How much value am I actually going to be getting out of this, or “when was the last time that these titles held up to what they were saying?”

It is garbage! I find them comical.

If you want to dive deep into this on this media manipulation, read”Trust me I am lying” by Ryan Holiday.

High-quality content will come in long format, that dives deep into the topic. Not content that is being churned out by a WordPress intern sweatshop.

4) Ask better questions & propose solutions. 

When seeking advice, asking questions like;  “What do you think I should do? or “What would you do, if you were me. “Are poor questions , that will lead to even weaker answers.  Asking better questions on one’s self, will lead to better solutions.

Let’s just say you received a bonus at Christmas from your boss. And you are not sure what to do with the money, so let’s just say you have made a decision of getting a new car.

Decision:”I am gong to buy a new car”

——-> Question one: Why?

Answer: “Because mine is old and I want an upgrade”

——->Question two: Does my current car restricting me in any way?

No, it gets me from where ever I want to go just fine.

——->Question three: “Is getting a new car going to make me any happier? 

Answer: Instant gratification, yes. Financially better off no.

——->Question four: ” Long term, would hiring a personal trainer and getting into better shape  make me happier? And be a better investment in myself?”

Yes.

Asking yourself “why” three times can cut to the fat which may lead to the question perhaps you actually need to make, instead of the one you are putting off.

4. Whom to turn too. 

"Learn this from water, loud splashes the brook but the oceans depth are calm." Buddha.

“Learn this from water, loud splashes the brook but the oceans depth are calm.” Buddha.

Completely lost?

If you are having trouble with a decision you have to make, and you have spent a lot of time debating it over and over again in your mind. Start talking to people.

People are kind, it does not matter who.

From here, you can then refer to the previous three points stated above to steer your judgement. Your mind can be like a very busy highway at times. So slow it down, and let that traffic escape.

To wrap up,

You may never know if you made the right or wrong decision, and that is just part of life. But, if you get one thing out of this post, remember this. “The word decision, closely related to incision, derives from the meaning “a cutting off.”

Life can be overwhelming at times. Simplify the decision when you can.

If you have the option to make a decision, then make it.

Trust the process and trust yourself.

Love,

Chris.

London, United Kingdom.