How To End Analysis Paralysis: And The Drawbacks To Being A "Maximizer"

Photo by Traditional Pattern

Photo by Traditional Pattern

Ever heard of F.O.B.O.?

Similar to "Fear of Missing Out", there's a new phenomenon called "Fear of Better Options"...

The New York Times published a piece about what happens to people who spend relentless time researching all the "best" options for fear that they'll miss out on the "best" one. Researchers call them (us) "maximizers". And while they "tend to make better decisions, they are less satisfied with those decisions..."

Sound familiar?

Often times "maximizers" will feel loads of regret, second-guessing, and fear that there was still a better option out there...

Good news is there's a way to resolve this (bad habit) in today's world of option overload.

The solution to this problem is to learn how to clearly state the "minimum outcome you're willing to accept".

That's a different way of saying we need to learn how to know our priorities!

For starters, consider using this question, which applies to almost any situation: "What matters most to you?"

If you're ordering lunch, are you looking to satisfy hunger? Or try something new? What matters most to you?

You can guess this applies in more than one way. But there's a greater problem today...

For many, the example of having analysis paralysis while ordering lunch is a sign of the potential greater stress and anxiety that can come when we have bigger decisions to make like: Do I take the job? Do I uproot my life and move cities to force a change just because I need a change and don't know what I want? What do I want? Not just for lunch, but in life?

All great questions. I've been in that head space, and I know it well.

From personal experience, and from the overwhelmingly positive response to podcast episode #1 Priorities, knowing your personal life priorities is not an easy task. They don't teach this stuff in school. So we have to learn from experience.

Experience can be a tough teacher. And most of us know that, which is why so many people often feel stagnant. The fear of not knowing what to do next will stop most of us from even taking one step...

If you're in that space where you need to figure out what to do - and you don't have clarity on your priorities - my suggestion is to start use your curiosity muscle...

Learn how to approach situations as an "experiment". In an experiment there’s a hypothesis, a test, an analysis, and a conclusion. Approach each opportunity, small or big, as a chance to learn something new. Take small risk, see what you can learn. As you become more informed, and more comfortable, take larger risk. And see what you can learn. This process helps remove pressure so you can move forward.

With that said, I hope your curiosity to read this article has helped you move forward.

If you'd like to dive deeper into this topic, listen to the episode titled “Priorities” now available on my podcast.

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