“Analysis paralysis” happens when we are faced with so many options we can’t make a decision. Even when we finally do make a decision, research repeatedly shows that those faced with more choices (which should be a good thing) face more regret than those who chose from less.
My biggest learning from Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice is that the best way to decide between many options is to first decide what criteria are most important, then choose the first option that meets all of them. “Good enough” is almost always good enough.
Whenever I’m faced with a business or marketing problem, social dilemma, or any other challenge, I always picture a person I admire greatly and say, “What would ____ do?”
It’s not a foolproof method. But I bet I’m less of a fool because of it. After all, there’s a reason we admire the people we do.
“Fear-setting” is the counter-intuitive but useful practice of articulating all the things that could go wrong. Counter-intuitive because it sounds inherently negative. Useful because deciding upfront that you could live with the worst realistic scenario removes a huge barrier to success. At the very least it makes failure less scary.
Stoics over the ages have set aside days (or longer) during which they lived under the most minimalist conditions, all the while asking, “is this the condition I so feared?”
“Named your fear must be, before banish it you can”