Analysis Paralysis – When Not Making a Choice is the Choice You Make

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the number of options in front of you? Whether it is what show to begin on Netflix, Hulu, Prime, or HBO, what major you should declare in school, or what to eat for dinner? Most of us have been paralyzed by what psychologists term “Analysis Paralysis,” or being so overwhelmed by choices that we can’t decide. In today’s episode, Tony Overbay, LMFT, dives deep into the many reasons we find ourselves not making a decision when there are many options. Tony references the following articles in this episode. and “8 Tips to Overcome Analysis Paralysis (With Examples)

With the continuing “sheltering” rules spreading across the country, PLEASE do not think you can’t continue or begin therapy now. can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link, you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your mental health a priority, offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

You can learn more about Tony’s pornography recovery program, The Path Back, by visiting And visiting and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the “uh’s” and “um’s” that, in his words, “must be created by wizards and magic!” because it’s that good! To learn more about Descript, click here


VC Ep 312 -2022-03-no chooose – 16.mp3

[00:00:00] I want to take you back to the golf course now. This golf course was located in Queen Creek, Arizona. It was over the weekend. And my son in law, Mitch, my son Jake and I, and then a fourth person that just happened to pull up named Greg, we were golfing in the picturesque Phenix desert. There were cactus. We were climbing, felt like rocks and over boulders. And the air was dry. And it was a really good day for golf. And there was one hole. And now I’m not a good golfer. I absolutely took last place if we would have been keeping track. And I honestly believe I was probably the only person that wasn’t keeping score. But we were having an amazing day. And I remember we got up to a particular hole. I don’t remember what the hole was, but for the sake of the story, let’s say it was hole 13. One of my favorite numbers and I was about 150, 160 yards away from the green in the pin. And I look over to Greg, Greg’s the more seasoned golfer, and I say, Greg, what club are you swinging? And he says, I don’t know. He says something like, I’m going to I’m going to hit a seven iron, but I hit a solid seven, got the wind behind me. And I’m going to try to pull it or draw it a little bit to set it right up on the green. The flags blew it. That means it’s to the back of the green and hopefully it’ll roll.

[00:01:09] And then I look over to my son in law, Mitch, and I say, Mitch, what would you swing from here? And he says, You know, I usually blade the shot and so I might hit an eight and then just hope that I, I just really make contact. I look over at Jake, Jake’s a really big hitter, and Jake says, you know, I might use an eight, but he’s like, But you know what? I might. I might even pull out a hybrid club and just try to hit this thing solid, let it just hit the grass in front of the green and just roll right on. And all of a sudden I think, what club am I going to hit? And I look at my bag and I’ve got the wood, I’ve got the hybrid, I’ve got the the 6 to 7, the eight, the nine. And I don’t even know. And I sit there and I find myself paralyzed and all of a sudden a course marshal comes driving up and he lets us know. Hey, hey, guys, do you mind speeding up your golf a little bit? There’s a there’s a couple of holes ahead of you, and so you’re lagging a little bit behind. And all of a sudden, I felt bad. I felt I felt a little bit of guilt. I don’t think it was quite going into the world of shame. But I realized I got a little bit of analysis paralysis and I thought, man, that term just came to me pretty easily.

[00:02:10] And how often am I talking about that in therapy? But analysis paralysis is this concept where I think I have so many decisions and all of a sudden I’m looking at all this different input that I can’t make a decision. So what do I do? I grab my seven iron out of the bag and I square up to the ball and I settle myself in. And then I want to tell you that it was one of the greatest shots that I’ve ever hit, that I hit the club just perfectly, that it landed at the front of the green and rolled on. But instead I hit the ball and it veered a slice. I’m left handed, it goes off to my left, and then I just hear the solid sound of the ball hitting one of these terracotta tile roofs. And while that was satisfying, apparently that might have been the wrong club. Or better yet, I’m not a very good golfer, but the concept of analysis paralysis is something that I think everyone can think of times or examples where that’s happened to them. I was talking to my daughter last night and we were talking about, Have you ever wanted to find something to watch? And we were both talking about these experiences of being on a treadmill and just scrolling through all the sudden I want to find something new to watch. So I look on Netflix, then I jump over to Hulu, then I maybe go to HBO, Max and I go over to Amazon Prime.

[00:03:24] And absolutely a true story I was sharing with her a couple of weeks ago where by the time that I had realized that there was nothing, that there were too many choices, that I couldn’t pick anything. I was already 20 something minutes into a 30 minute workout. And so at that point, I just I just ran angry for the last seven or 8 minutes and then completed the run. So this concept of analysis, paralysis can happen anywhere, can happen whether you’re on the golf course. It can happen if you’re just simply trying to pick a show to help you kill some time on a treadmill. Or it can happen in some of the biggest decisions to make in your life. I’ve had people in my office talk about analysis, paralysis when it comes to should I marry someone, what job should I take, what car should I get, where should I live or move? And so today we’re going to explore this concept of analysis paralysis. What can you do about it? How do you recognize it? And and even more importantly then, what are the psychological things that go into why some people have analysis paralysis and when others just have no problem making a decision and moving on. So we’re going to talk about that in so much more coming up on today’s episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:04:30] The. Come on in. Take a seat. I will hurt you.

[00:04:50] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode 312 of the Virtual Couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified, mindful habit coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four, ultramarathon runner and creator of The Path Back, which is an online pornography recovery program that is helping people turn away from turning to pornography as a coping mechanism. Coping mechanism for what it can be anything. And I often talk about it’s one of these five voids that maybe someone finds in their life. If they don’t feel like they are connected in their marriage and their parenting and their faith and their health and their career, then people often turn to coping mechanisms. It can be pornography, it can be food, it can be drugs, alcohol, it can be work, it can be their phones. The principles that we teach at the path back are ones that can fit into so many different situations. But it is definitely a program that I’ve had for years, but I am getting more and more excited about the more that we have participation. There’s a weekly group call. There are so many people that are just finding a better version of themselves but becoming that person they always want it to be. So if you want to know more, head to and you can find a short book that talks about five myths of what people fall prey to when trying to turn away from pornography once and for all again.

[00:06:01] and I will continue to go big. The next round of the magnetic marriage course is coming very soon. My friend, my colleague Preston Meier, who helped me put the course together, this is going to be our fourth round and each of the first three rounds have been phenomenal. And if you want to know more, go to Tony over You can send me an email through the contact form and I will make you aware. I’ll put you on a list. But you also should see more. I’ll have a landing page that I’ll start talking about soon, whether it’s on social media here on podcast. So I can’t wait. That course just keeps getting better and better. It’s a course that is evolving and it is, of course, that features my four pillars of a connected conversation. We also talk so much about everything from accountability, how to show up to different experiences and perspectives that you have in your relationship. And I will say this so often it’s normal to get to a point in your relationship where you maybe feel a little bit like you’re not quite sure if something’s worth saying or not. If you aren’t always as excited as you think you should be when you hear your spouse pull into the driveway, because we’re by nature, these creatures excuse me, because we are by nature, these people, these creatures that we really want to be liked, we want to be loved.

[00:07:12] And so we come into relationships a bit codependent, a bit enmeshed. And then as we go through life and we have jobs, we have ups and downs, we have kids, we move people in our lives, leave. All of these things happen. That’s when we really start to find out who we are and what really matters to each one of us. And then as we start to express ourselves in our relationships, oftentimes it will feel like our partner is abandoning us. If they all of a sudden, after these years of marriage, where we think we know this person perfectly and now they have a different view, they want to wear different clothes, they want to watch different movies. They’ve got different hobbies. They maybe want to retire somewhere that they’ve never talked about before. And then to the partner that that hears that, sometimes they feel like, wait a minute, where did this come from? Does that mean you want to leave? And absolutely it doesn’t. But it means that you’re two different people, two absolutely autonomous people that are coming from different backgrounds and different experiences that find yourself in a relationship, which is an amazing thing. But then when things get really difficult or hard or we want to express our own thoughts or opinions on things, and if our spouse just reacts even as human and says, Wait a minute, I didn’t know that, then all of a sudden we find ourselves saying, Oh, I really don’t.

[00:08:20] I really don’t mean that. I’m not really sure why I even said that. But instead we need to have a framework. We need to have tools to be able to communicate our own hopes, dreams, thoughts, wishes, even if they are different than our spouses. Because that doesn’t mean that the marriage is bad. It means you’re a human being. So we are so afraid of things becoming contentious, turning to contention that we avoid tension altogether and the magnetic marriage course talks. We give you a way to work, have a framework, a way to communicate literally the things that that you might need to say. Almost a script of how to deal with tension, because tension is where growth occurs. So reach out, go to Tony over, shoot me an email, let me know that you’re interested in finding out when the next round will launch, and hopefully I will see you in the magnetic marriage course. So let’s get to today’s topic analysis paralysis. And I’m going to pull from two or three different places today. The first place that I found a really interesting article is on a website called Psychology Spot. And a Psychology Spot is a blog from psychologists Jennifer Delgado. Suarez And her article is called Analysis Paralysis When Thinking Too Much Blocks You. I also found an article from, the Job Hunt website, and there’s a lot of good information today on Wikipedia, and I still find myself hesitant.

[00:09:42] To go with Wikipedia just because it’s a free online dictionary. And if you ever want to really go down a rabbit hole, do a little bit of Googling around funny examples of people hacking or editing Wikipedia pages because it happens often because Wikipedia, anyone can have access to that to share information about a particular topic. But let’s start from psychology spot analysis paralysis when thinking too much blocks you. And in this article, Jennifer says that our society exalts thought and reason, but in some cases, thinking too much can be counterproductive, leading to what is known in psychology as analysis paralysis. Analysis Paralysis first appeared together as far back as 1803 in what was called a pronouncing dictionary, and later editions talked about that the words were pronounced similarly, and that usage of rhyming words, which I believe are called aphorisms, can make words feel more truthful and more memorable because of this concept called rhyme as reason effect. So the basic idea has been expressed through narrative a number of times in one Aesop’s fable, The Fox and the Cat, the fox boasts of hundreds of ways of escaping, while a cat has only one, when they were eventually chased down by some people trying to get them, and when they hear the hounds approaching, the cat scampers up a tree, well, then the fox in his confusion was caught up by the hounds. So the fable ends with the moral better one safe way than 100 on which you can’t reckon.

[00:11:10] And in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the main character, Prince Hamlet, is said to have this moral flaw of thinking too much. I know that one of my favorite musicals is Seussical The Musical, and I know there one of the characters is often I think they say, there he goes, thinking again and he’s thinking and thinking. And Voltaire popularized an old Italian proverb in French in the 1770s, and the English variant of that is perfect is the enemy of good, meaning that if one might never complete a task, if you’ve decided not to stop it until perfection has been attained. And so completing the project well is made impossible by striving to complete it perfectly. During World War Two, Winston Churchill. After hearing that the landing craft designers were spending the majority of their time arguing over design changes, sent this message. He said the maxim Nothing avails. But perfection, he said, might be spelt shorter paralysis, meaning simply that the people were overthinking and overthinking these landing craft to the point of wanting to do it perfectly. And what was happening is they weren’t designing the landing craft that they so desperately needed in time of war. In 1956, Charles Schwartz wrote the article The Run on Investment Concept as a tool for decision making. And he said, In there, we will do less guessing, avoid the danger of becoming extinct by instinct and by the adoption of one uniform evaluation guide, escaping the succumbing to paralysis by analysis.

[00:12:38] And finally, in a paper published in 1970s, authors Silver and Hechler wrote, The Duke group has used the term analysis paralysis to point out that if we wait until we’ve completely answered all the questions and solve all the problems before training the personnel we need, then we will never reach a solution. And the the insistent demands for further study, extensive evaluation suggested by some may only be a defense by those who do not wish to change, or even sometimes more is the case, those who fear change. So let’s talk about why is analysis paralysis occurring and what can you do about it? I’m going back to this article from Psychology Spot. Jennifer says One of the biggest reasons why we do this is the fear of making mistakes, because every day we have dozens and dozens of decisions to be made. Some are important and others seem somewhat inconsequential. But all of the decisions typically generate some mild or severe amount of anxiety, depending on the impact of these decisions have on our lives. And the fear of making mistakes, of not being able to go back once we made a decision, is thought to be one of the main causes of analysis paralysis, we want to be sure. But given that we can never have absolute certainty, then we are paralyzed in the analysis phase, incubating the fear of error or analyzing over and over again and again consequences of the different options without opting for any.

[00:13:55] And I love how she talked about that. We really want to know certainty and the book literally the book on being certain, which I’ve referred to on previous podcasts, talks about this concept of certainty as being one of the the biggest reasons of why that we really can start to drive ourselves a bit insane, because what if we just start with this concept that there is no certainty and this is something that I will take ownership of, of I don’t know if I read this in that book or if it’s a concept that I pulled from the principles of the book. But I believe that our brain thinks that it really does know what certainty feels like because our brain can immediately go to situations like an easy math example, two plus two equals four. And that I really believe that if we had a functional. Brain scan going on right now, that there would be some levers turning, some knobs going into place, and that feeling of certainty of, och yeah, two plus two is four. That feels very certain. And that is indeed the certainty there. So then we feel like we should have that same aha moment or that same satisfaction or that that feeling that resonates with anything when we’re trying to think through What outfit should I wear today or where should we go on vacation or what job should I take? Or What should I study in school? Or Should I have this career change that we’re looking for that same aha click in the wheels of the brain of certainty that we have when we think of something as simple as two plus two is four.

[00:15:24] And so in the book on being certain, he talks about this concept of where in reality we in essence we react, we react, or we make decisions based on all of the previous things that we’ve been through up to that point in our life. And then within, I don’t know, nanoseconds, milliseconds, then we want certainty. We want to make sense of why we made a decision that we made rather than just saying, okay, I made that decision in in essence, now what? And I feel like one of the biggest keys to overcoming this concept of analysis paralysis is understanding that even in some of the most complex decisions that we make, we’re going to be able to make more decisions. And this is where I feel like we get caught up in that all or nothing or black or white cognitive distortion that we often feel like, okay, once I make this decision, that’s it. I am locked in for the rest of my life. But in reality, instead of looking at things from this, we’re at point A and we already need to know what Z looks like that instead making a decision gets us from point A to point B and guess what? We then can make decisions from point B.

[00:16:26] So analysis paralysis is often this concept where I think that we wait so long that often our decision is made for us. Even if that decision is that no decision was made at all, well then that was made because we missed a deadline or we waited until the opportunity to make the decision is completely out of our hands. And I think what is pretty interesting about that concept as well is it starts to move into this world of accountability. So if we don’t make a decision and the decision then is made now we also get to say, man, I would have made a different decision. I would have completely done. The other thing it’s the old hindsight is 2020 principle. But in reality, and this is where I feel like we need to look at that concept of external validation. Am I afraid to make a decision? Because I really I want to to make sure again, I want to make sure that it feels right, that it feels certain. And so if I’m not really exactly sure how I’m supposed to feel about a decision, then I want to ask everybody else for their input. I want to review all of the data, and I’m trying to look for any one of those people or things that’s going to make me feel like, Oh, okay, now I get it.

[00:17:31] Now I can make the decision when in reality, what if we just work from this place of, okay, I’m going to make the decision and now we’ve just got more data to work with. Now I make the decision and there we are. And I think back to when I started into grad school to become a therapist, I had spent ten years in the computer software industry and I used to write this humor column in a newspaper, and I had started writing about having my my oldest daughter, my first daughter, Alex. And as I was writing about her, man, I feel like I can’t go any further and talking about her to acknowledge that I have had more people reach out and ask about how she is doing. The episode I did about two or three weeks ago about Alex. Pretty horrific car accident, someone running a red light t boning her car. And I guess we’re about five weeks down the road now. It is absolutely been the hardest thing I think that I’ve had to deal with and watching her struggle and suffer. And she now has a pelvis that is put together by these rods, these pins. And she posted just the most beautiful thing on her social media over the weekend. It was really the first time that she’s posted something coming from her. And I’ll talk so much more about this, I think, down the road, because it’s going to be it’s going to be a long road.

[00:18:40] It’s going to be a long recovery. And it’s been it’s affected our entire family. And the more we find out about the accident itself and that sort of thing, it’s that’s really sad. It’s really frustrating as we get more of the details about how it all unfolded. But she posted on her social media that she never in a million years anticipated that she would need help doing everything. And boy, that’s a whole other thing. But I go back to this concept of I was I started writing about the birth of my daughter Alex, and I was writing a lot of humorous things. I felt like they were humorous. And this newspaper column that I had and I had this idea that I wanted to write a book. And so I thought, who am I to write a book? And then I really did have myself convinced that I needed to get a master’s degree in counseling so that then I can have letters behind my name, because that would, for some reason, give me more authority to publish a book on fatherhood. Pretty, pretty complicated set of steps there for me just to want to publish a book. I realize now in hindsight that that was a little bit of my experiential avoidance of that. I’ll publish the book when I’ll publish it, when I have gone to grad school, when I have a master’s degree in counseling, when I have these letters behind my name, I’ve still never published that.

[00:19:42] Book, by the way, but I went on to point A was go back and get my masters. That got me to point B and I really never intended to see clients, which is just still fascinating and blows my mind where it’s now almost been 20 years and this is the greatest job that I ever could have found in my entire life. So talk about going from point A to B, B to C, C to DH, working with the population of people that I do now, continuing to I never anticipated a podcast or having written another book or speaking at the places I got to speak. And so had I been caught up in this analysis paralysis and not made the decision and then eventually watch my life in essence time out and that decision would have been made for me. Then I could have always done the man if I would have only gone back to school, if I would have just tried to become get my master’s in counseling and written that book, then, then I could have been somebody, but instead it was I get from point A to B, I remember finally taking the step of saying, two years are going to go by and they’re going to have this master’s in counseling or I’m not. And so just taking those steps along the way was a pretty fascinating experience and not falling prey to analysis paralysis.

[00:20:46] So fear of making mistakes again. We have these decisions that we make every day. And if we want to go pretty deep, there’s a concept called Internal Family Systems. It’s another type of therapeutic modality that I think is pretty fascinating. And what Internal Family Systems talks about is that there are times in our life where we have these experiences and then we almost break off these emotions, so to speak. The example that I often hear or the one that I will give if I talk a little bit about internal family systems and I’m not very well trained on this, but we talk about the concept of actually perfectionism and where when someone they have when they try to be perfect in everything that if you’re looking at this internal family systems model, it can be a case where they were called dumb or stupid when they were younger. And so then that that emotion, that feeling that goes along with that is looked at as I believe what’s called it’s an exile. This motion is exiled. And now here comes the perfectionist that is going to make sure that if I do everything perfect, then I will never be called stupid again. Because that hurts so bad. Because in this scenario, the example I’m giving that person was called stupid by their parents when they were young at some very key developmental times repeatedly. So then they become this perfectionist excuse me.

[00:21:57] Then they become this perfectionist again in order to never be called stupid again. So that fear of making mistakes and that’s where I just want to say, boy, if you’re talking about this from a parenting standpoint, please allow your kids to make mistakes. And don’t look at that. It isn’t about you. This isn’t about you wanting to puff up your own fragile ego and say, I wouldn’t have made that mistake. What’s wrong? That’s where I want to say, okay, great. You’ve elevated yourself as an adult human being above maybe your child or teenager who is trying to figure things out. Instead, we need to help form this secure attachment with our kids so that they know that they can go out and make mistakes and then have a base to come back and operate and process things from that they can go out and have a failure or make a mistake and then come back and have you for piller assuming they weren’t doing that to try to hurt you, not telling them that their experience was wrong or I don’t believe you. And then leaning in with questions, Hey, tell me about that. What was that like for you? What was that job like? What was it like to get into that situation or that that place that you were just at and in my piller for is not going into victim mode or going into your bunker of just saying, well, I’m just your parent.

[00:23:00] You’re not listening to me. I guess my opinion doesn’t matter. But just staying present and giving someone the landing a landing area for when we make mistakes because we’re all going to make mistakes, we’re no one is going to be perfect. As a matter of fact, boy, go over to my Waking Up the Narcissism podcast to hear more about this concept of that fear of being wrong. That’s gaslighting 101. And gaslighting is absolutely a childhood defense mechanism. If you grew up and you felt like if I was wrong, I was going to hear and as a kid, then if I’m going to hear about it, there’s this fear and it sounds so crazy, but a fear of abandonment that if I’m wrong, I get something wrong, I get in trouble, that my parents are all going to boot me out of the house. And that’s where the little kid brain goes. Then that’s where gaslighting is. A childhood defense mechanism kicks in and all of a sudden, I can’t be wrong, so I’m going to gaslight you with. I didn’t say that. I didn’t do that. You did that. You made me do that. Any of those sound familiar? So the antidote to that is being able to help your kids understand that making mistakes and getting things wrong as part of the human experience. And that’s where growth occurs. So analysis paralysis can be a byproduct of growing up in a home where you felt like you couldn’t make mistakes or you never watched your parent model accountability or take an ownership of saying, My bad, yeah, kind of blew that one because it is so empowering to take ownership or accountability of something because again, we’re all human and things are going to happen.

[00:24:23] Hey everybody. I also wanted to make a quick plug for If you are trying to work on yourself, if you are plagued by analysis, paralysis, and you need help, then it might be time to start talking to somebody. Because when we leave things to just rattle around in our own heads, they often go to the worst case scenario. It’s a survival mechanism. Your brain really thinks it’s doing you a favor, but being able to express things to somebody, especially somebody that is going to understand or have the tools to help you with why you’re expressing something the way you are. Where does that come from? And you are looking for help. Then, welcome to the world of online therapy. Go to, slash virtual couch and get 10% off your first month’s treatment. You can email, you can video, chat, you can text, you can do all of these these ways to do therapy that I never dreamed of back when I became a therapist such a long, long time ago. The intake process is pretty simple, and they’ll put you with a counselor that understands the the things that you are coming to the table.

[00:25:17] If you want to work on anxiety, depression, OCD, family relationship issues, then again slash virtual couch, get 10% off your first month treatment. You absolutely deserve it and owe it to yourself to get the treatment to make you the best version of you. So go to Virtual Couch today. So another reason why analysis paralysis occurs is having too much information. And she says in a modern society, the capacity to choose has been overestimated to the point that the amount of options available simply overwhelms us. I go back to that example of me just simply trying to pick something to watch while I’m on a treadmill. I can pull my old man card here and say, Back when I was a kid, we had three networks. I still remember the advent of the VCR, which it does make me sound old, but there was absolutely not five, six, seven, eight, nine different streaming systems or networks that all have their own original content that is available at the in the palm of my hand. And no wonder that this analysis paralysis is starting to take hold of the I feel like the entire world. So when there is too much information, then that can cause this analysis paralysis. She said that in fact, it’s been shown that the more options the consumer has, the less likely he or she will be to bend, the longer it will take to make the decision if he or she takes it in, even at all.

[00:26:30] And so in these cases, the problem is that we lose ourselves by valuing more and more details to differentiate one option from another. And in the end, we end up exhausted and frustrated, which reduces our capacity for deciding. Now add in the concept called experiential avoidance, where I will avoid making that decision. I’ll do it later. I’ll do it when I have a little bit more rest. I’ll do it when I’m not. When I have other things on my plate. I’ll do it after I play this game. I’ll do it after I watch. I binge watch eight more episodes of whatever I am watching right now. And then I will make the decision tomorrow. Then I wake up tomorrow and I feel like, what’s wrong with me? I can even make a decision. So then I feel bad. So then I just think, okay, I’ve got to get my head right. So I’ll make this decision later and then that happens over and over again. So at some point we have too many options and we do become exhausted by the options and we then kick the can down the road, so to speak, and we think I’ll do it later. And also we talked about this, that tendency to perfectionism, also the aversion to the opportunity cost. I like this principle because opportunity cost is something that I didn’t realize how often that plays into psychology.

[00:27:34] Let me share what she said about this. She said The opportunity cost is a concept use in economics to designate the value of the not chosen option. So it refers to what we lose. Choosing another alternative in many cases focusing too much on what we renounced instead of focusing on what we gain, prevents us from making a decision and condemns us to paralysis and practice. We’re blinded by our losses and so we forget profits and gains. I think one of the simplest examples where this comes into play is trying to make a decision about ordering something on a menu. Because if I’m going in and I say, okay, I want we’ll say, I want tacos or I want or I want pasta. So then if we think, okay, I’m going to go for the tacos, but then what comes into mind, man? But if I get tacos, I’m missing out on pasta and I really like pasta. So then I say, I’m going to go with pasta. And then I think, Who doesn’t like the good taco? And and so then we go back and forth on this. What am I missing? What am I be missing on? I’m missing on the sweet taste of fettuccine Alfredo. If I’m leaning into these tacos, she says that the worst of all is that in many cases we then make excuses to explain that analysis paralysis. So she says, for example, we say that we need more information to make the decision when in reality what stops us is the fear of making mistakes.

[00:28:46] So in those cases, it’s important to be aware of what causes decision paralysis so as not to run around in circles, worried uselessly and wasting our psychological energy, which I love the concept of psychological energy. So here’s the go back to this example and I know it isn’t doesn’t feel this simple when you’re talking about what college to go to or what career choice or what car, what house to to choose it really. I know that that feels like such a different level of importance, but when I go back to this food, if we look at this opportunity cost, what if I get the tacos and they aren’t very good? Well, then the pasta, I’m sure, would have been amazing. And now I feel like I made a mistake or I did something wrong. When in reality, then, well, maybe next time we’ll get the pasta, because you’re going to have plenty of decisions to make down the road. So she said how to overcome decision paralysis. Number one, she suggested establishing deadlines. When you have an when you have important decisions to make, establishing a deadline and respecting it will help you take that step. And she. Says, determine a prudential time frame to get informed and then make a decision. She said. Remember the words of Herald Janine better a good decision quickly than the best decision.

[00:29:51] Too late. No better words to live by. But then I’m just going to bring some awareness. I did a whole episode years ago on the concept of Devil’s Advocate. Not a big fan, but in bringing awareness to establishing deadlines. I do worry at times. See, I’m trying to be all strength based with my with the way that we’re framing this. But I do worry at times that we then establish a deadline, but our own brain knows how adorable you think that you have to have that paper done this Friday, when in reality we know that it’s not due until Monday, then that’s not going to quite give us that that rush to this to meet this deadline. But when we can establish deadlines, then that is an absolutely healthy thing to do. I talked to someone recently who is they want to build a house. They feel like they’ve missed out on the opportunity to make a lot of the decisions for the House to be made this built this summer. So it’s going to be a while. And so one of the things that I think is so helpful in that scenario is then to look at all the processes that will go into making this house and then work backwards, developing a timeline. And I feel like that’s a concept where you could establish a deadline there. I need to have an architect hired by this particular date. I need to start looking at permits by this particular date, and that at least should bring awareness to decisions that need to be made, she said.

[00:31:05] Restrain your curiosity. This one is hard because I feel like I have a value. One of my core values is curiosity. It really is, she said. The details are one of the main culprits of analysis, paralysis and that desire to dig more and more into each new information that you discover. At a certain point, you need to stop because that desire to deepen can lead to paralysis, because there will always be something that you cannot know. And this is a beautiful concept and I see this come up in therapy often. I will have someone that very real scenarios and at any given time I feel like I have multiple people that are going through this concept of where they’re trying to decide if a marriage is viable and they want to the phrase will come up. I want to make sure that I did everything that I could do before deciding if I want to seek a divorce. And I so appreciate that concept, but you will always be able to find more that you could have done. Because let’s say that you said, I’m going to wait a year and I’m going to I’m going to try and go to counseling. I won’t try to get myself in a good place. And then that year hits then and it feels like, okay, not really so sure what to do.

[00:32:08] I think I’m going to go and pull the trigger on getting the divorce. But then there will be people around you that will say so. And so they they were in counseling for two or three years and then all of a sudden it worked. So then we will always be able to pull more data. What if I didn’t do enough? And so at a certain point it is decision time and then taking ownership in that decision. I love the next thing that she said to she said, assume that the planets will never line up, the conditions will never be optimal. Therefore, you must assume that you have to make the decision with the knowledge and data that you already have. And she says, don’t wait to know everything or for it to reach this perfect moment. Delaying the decision by waiting for the planets to align can just be an excuse for not taking the step. There’s the principle that I want to talk about for a little bit is that it’s that taking ownership or accountability that that we want to I know that we want to make the best decisions that we can, but often, yeah, if we’re waiting for the planets to all line up and they don’t line up, then we get to blame someone else. Then we get to say, you know, the planets never really lined up. And eventually I just I couldn’t make this decision because I was waiting for the planets to line up.

[00:33:12] And where I see this often is when someone does say to me the therapist, Well, what do you think I should do? And I know it may sound like that is a therapist job, especially for somebody that maybe hasn’t done a lot of extensive therapy. And this is where I feel like the concept sometimes of coaching versus therapy can come into play in coaching. Then I’ll say, here’s what you do. Here’s the four steps of how you make decisions and you go through this checklist and then you make the decision. But then there’s a human being involved that has all of their own experiences up to that point. So while I do coaching myself and I feel like that can be really helpful, but then in the same breath that ultimately as a therapist were trying to help you get to this place where you are, the one that is making the decision, because ultimately your brain will say, Oh, man, what if I would have done this? Then things might have been different or better or felt better. And so then if you if the therapist says, well, I think it seems like maybe got to get, then you ultimately have some down days down the road where you feel like, okay, this isn’t what I wanted because I have all the feelings, which is again, absolutely normal and human. But then we get to say, man, you know what? I would have never done this, but the therapist told me to do it.

[00:34:19] Tug on therapist. Now I’m a now I’m a victim now I can’t go out and live my best life because I took this bad advice from this therapist. But so in reality, assuming the plaintiffs will never line up and because waiting for them to line up or then saying, what does everybody else think I should do that then that could eventually lead to us having an excuse instead of taking ownership of. This is what I did. And that’s, again, talk about hard concepts like divorce, where in reality, at some point we have to make the decision and then take ownership and accountability and move forward. Our brain wants certainty. How adorable, because that is one of those concepts that is really a hindsight principle. She says, Don’t look for perfection. Perfection is the enemy of the good. Voltaire If you insist on everything to be perfect, you’ll end up being a victim of decision paralysis, since it is practically impossible to control all the details. She says Take one step at a time. Instead of taking the decision as something definitive, assume it is small steps that you can correct as you go. Taking small decisions will help you feel more comfortable and safe, as well as getting you out of a state of paralysis, she said in the Army, for example. It really doesn’t matter in which direction you move when you are under a mortar attack.

[00:35:32] You just need to move and don’t think that you’re making a big decision as it can be scary to think that you’re making multiple small decisions. And I didn’t think about turning this into more of marriage related content, but even that concept of getting the divorce in all reality, and this is one of those things that I think is really interesting, is oftentimes people fight that concept so hard where if one of the partners feels like they honestly feel like this is not, they can’t be their best self. They’re not showing up as their best self for their spouse. And we’ve tried to make a go of things through counseling, therapy, and then they just feel like this we’re just missing. We’re unable to commute. There’s so much that has gone into getting to this point that we’re in. And so sometimes I’ll just give the gender stereotype, the example that I will see more often. But it’s not always the case where if the wife says, I really want to file for divorce, and then the husband says, Hey, you do that, I’m done. But in reality, if we file for the divorce, sometimes that can help someone feel like they do have a little bit more. They’ve regained a little bit more of their power or some control that they felt like they’ve never had in the relationship. And so that is just one of these from point A to B, B to C.

[00:36:39] That’s just a decision that has been made. And now what do we do next? Does that mean that now we have to get in our bunkers and go to war? Absolutely not. We can still communicate, especially if there’s kids involved. Now, we really do want to make what is best for the kids. And a tiny plug for I did an episode on co-parenting on my Waking Up to Narcissism podcast that I pulled some examples from this group that I work with of women in relationships with narcissistic people. It’s not just spouses. It can be narcissistic parents, narcissistic bosses, narcissistic spouses, narcissistic kids, you name it. And the the examples were just mind blowing of when somebody says, hey, we’re going to do what’s best for the kids. But I feel like that isn’t always the case. So limiting the number of options, whether it’s a quick Segway, wasn’t it? If you reduce the number of options, it will be easier for you to make a decision start by choosing the most interesting alternatives and discard the rest. It’ll be easier to choose between three options than ten. I think this one is interesting and I totally understand this. I used to try to bring this more into therapy. I used to say content, not emotion, she says add or eliminate the emotion. In certain cases, you need to add a little bit of rationality to the decision making process, and in others you need to add a little bit of intuition.

[00:37:48] The best decisions are those that are thought with objectivity but then validated by intuition. Therefore, if you are paralyzed because you think you’re being too rational or on the contrary to emotional. And the reason I like this one so much is because I am often helping people try to rediscover their visceral or gut when emotionally focused therapy. Literally in the book, Emotionally Focused Therapy for Dummies, they have an amazing chapter that talks about I think I talked about this on last week’s episode of Marriage Tips, but where emotion fires about two and a half times faster than logic, it’s a survival mechanism. Data enters your brain and it quickly is it goes through this filter of is it safe? That’s my emotional response. And once I view it as safe, then I can say, what do I do about it? So that the emotion can really cause us to then make rash, rash decision or maybe an irrational decision. So oftentimes let the emotion come in, feel the emotion. This is where I love. This concept of stepping back is viewing yourself in context of we’ll check that out. When I have this decision to make, this is my immediate reaction. That’s pretty fascinating. What does that say about me in this particular moment? And then from there, then you can move on into right now that I’ve maybe not necessarily taken the emotion completely out, but I realize what is my gut reaction and do I need to trust my gut right now or do I need to think my gut for warning me? But now that I’m coming back to a more peaceful sense of self, now I can make the decision.

[00:39:14] And finally, she said, Prioritize the decisions that are more important. Sometimes we suffer from what is known as decision fatigue, which is caused by having to make too many decisions in a very short time. Therefore, it is important that you structure your day in such a way that you can make the most important decisions with a fresh mind. I think it’s Charles Duhigg book The Power of Habit, where he talks about I now refer to it as, I think, the decision sponge or the brain sponge, where sometimes the decision fatigue will. The decision fatigue is it’s a true thing. Our. Her decisions do often come earlier in the day before we get to this decision fatigue. So prioritize the ones that are more important. Hey, I appreciate you taking the time to talk about analysis paralysis today. And if you have examples where you’ve been able to overcome this or questions about this, feel free to reach out through. Contact the contact form on my website. On Tony. Over Macomb. Make sure that you also reach out if you’re interested in learning more about the magnetic marriage course. Taking this out, as per usual, is a wonderful the talented Florence and her son. It’s wonderful.

[00:40:13] Compressed emotions flying past our heads and out the other end, the pressures of the daily grind. It’s wonderful. And that’s the question. Robert Ghost. I’m floating past the midnight hour. They push aside the things that matter most. Setting news a discount price, a million opportunities. The chance is yours to take or lose. It’s worth. Always on the back burner until the opportune time. We’re always pushed to go farther. Shut up.

[00:41:40] It goes. My seems to be.

[00:42:13] Develop distance don’t explode. Allow the understanding through to heal the legs and hearts. You broke the pain. She just might. To my mental strength and paths. I’m trying hard to shut them out into one.

[00:42:38] Bomb is dropped to three feet. Does it feel good? Do. It goes. Screen. He’s. It drowns our dreams.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top