Analysis Paralysis – The Mind Trap

You know that feeling of how sometimes we plan on doing something but never end up doing it? This is analysis paralysis. What happens is that we spend so much time thinking about how to take action that it begins to become the action itself. The thinking part replaces that doing part as the action. This is a cycle that you do not want to get yourself into.

So what does this analysis paralysis happen to us? It's really something that tricks the human mind. A lot of the times, we think of doing actions to accomplish a goal we have in mind. But what happens is that sometimes doing those actions makes us uncomfortable or some degree of fear is involved.

So in order to remedy this, we start to analyze the situation of taking action because doing so makes us feel good inside. It makes us feel like the action of analyzing is at least something productive.

So once the plan is made, we go forth and do the action that we have on a piece of paper. As the action is about to take place, something happens that stops us. It is an emotional that holds us back for whatever reason it happens to be during that moment.

So we go back to our rooms, or wherever we feel most comfortable in, and spend more time, more hours, creating and devising a plan to take action again.

This time we make analyze the last situation of why we did not take action and we devise a better plan. This time it is perfect.

So we go and perform the action again with more energy and motivation. And as we start to take that action, we feel the emotion again that creeps back in our minds, "Go away," you tell yourself, but it becomes to become more and more overwhelming. "Go away, I mean it. I need to do this!"

By this time, you start to talk to yourself more and more. Ultimately, the moment is passed, and you head back into your comfortable area again, devising yet another plan to take action the next time. And this cycle continues over and over again until we reach the point of mental collapse, where the goal we initially had in mind is now put on hold until it is forgotten or never sees the light of day.

There are many things that cause each of our own analyses paralyses, but I believe that there are two primary causes that inhibit our ability to take action and remain stuck in analyzing mode.

  • Fear
  • Perfection

The first one is obvious to why we spend so much thinking about performing action and that is fear. Have you ever been told that if you want to meet somebody new, you will have to approach a stranger in public and go from there? If you have never done this before, you will probably go through a minor case of analyses paralysis, where you spend a lot of time writing down what you will say, what your first line will be, what the last line will be, where you will meet the stranger, what is your back up plan if the stranger rejects you, how you will gather the courage to approach the stranger in the first place, etc.

Some people turn analyses paralyses into an obsession. Something that takes a minute to do, takes about an hour of analyzing and talking in the head before doing it. Since the emotional burden of it is not worth the results, usually they just end spending more time to analyze a better plan or quit all together.

Secondly, analysis paralysis can come from the want to be perfect. You've probably heard of perfectionists who need to have a perfect plan before they start to take action. They want and need to know every step of the way before taking any action. It's like having a perfectly outlined strategy guide before playing an adventure game. What fun would it be to know all the answers to something before doing it? Once can always create the answers from trial and error experience; but what happens is that usually these people are never satisfied with the guide before it is never "perfect" enough for them to take action.

So, in essence, this is what analyses paralysis is. It is a mind trap. And it could well be one of the worst possible habits one can develop when it comes to getting things done in life.

I've been through analyses paralyses before and I'm sure everybody has. If you happen to find yourself in this stage a lot where you're looking for a way to find a cure for it, there really is not a big secret to solving analysis paralysis. It's simply just to take action.

Stop constantly worrying about the fear that something wrong is going to happen; most of it is just going on inside the mind. And stop worrying about the perfect plan … you can have the most perfect plan for anything on earth, but if you never apply it in real life, then there's no point.

Taking action does not require emotional baggage, but most people who suffer analysis paralysis make it that way when they attempt to do something new. Just make it a habit to take action regularly without always analyzing the situation and it will become a piece of cake.