Paralysis by analysis

You might find me to be one of the most thorough planners on the planet. Despite being a pretty emotional guy, I also very analytical. I rarely, if ever, make a move without planning, scheduling, and considering the consequences. But the reality of living on this planet is that we can’t always know everything we need to know to make “the best” decision. Furthermore, we can, especially in this day and age of having the entirety of human knowledge… and then some… at the tips of our digital fingers, very easily over research a decision.

I know I’ve written about decision making in the past. Here’s a quick refresher of my feelings on the topic. Making any decision, large or small, is the perfect storm of Attention, Anxiety, Impulsivity, & Executive Functioning, particularly Working Memory. In short, everything that we suck at! Particularly of interest for today’s topic the the intersection of Anxiety and ADHD. The more afraid we are to make the “wrong” decision, the more we are likely to go down and endless rabbit hole of research or perseverate indefinitely without doing anything.

I think it is really important to know that, for any decision, there may not be a right answer. Or there may be several. Regardless, we will come to a point where continued (productive) thought and research will either not yield anything helpful, will confuse the issue more, or will throughly demonstrate the concept of the law of diminishing returns.

In short, we have to have the confidence to gather the information that we can, what is reasonable at least and then “pull the trigger.” We have to trust ourselves to make the best choice, given the options, given the information available. And we have to accept that it isn’t always going to work out perfectly. But that’s okay! Learn from it. Move on. And you will have more data points for your next decision. That’s how we learn. Once we’ve gotten past our impulsivity and are really considering what to choose, the only way to “fail” is to not make a decision.