Paralysis by Analysis [When the Pros and Cons List Goes Awry]

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Paralysis by AnalysisA night out on the town or a quiet evening at home?

Two kids or three?

Mint Chocolate Chip or Rocky Road?

Every day we each make thousands upon thousands of decisions, some of them life-altering and some of them totally inconsequential.

There are some people who breeze through each of these choices, going with their gut and never looking back.

And then there are the wafflers.

The waverers. The commitment-phobes. The people who always say “I’ll go last” when ordering at a restaurant because the choice between chicken or fish feels insurmountable.

I confess, I am an analyzer.

Correction: I am an over-analyzer. Instead of jumping right into things, I prefer to sleep on it, carefully deliberate, consider all of my options, mull it over a bit, make a list of pros and cons, and on and on and on.

Sometimes this tendency has served me well, especially when my natural cautiousness has led me to pray and meditate before making an important decision.

But sometimes all of that caution isn’t about tuning into my God or my heart; sometimes it’s a way of avoiding what I know I need to do.

It’s called paralysis by analysis—when we spend so much thinking about doing something that we never get around to actually doing anything. And I know I’m not the only one who has suffered from this.

I’ve come to realize that at its core, paralysis by analysis is about fear—a fear of failure, of screwing it all up, of regret. For me, all that over analyzing is just a way of indulging a fear of moving forward, leaving me stagnant and comfortable.

But I don’t want to be comfortable all the time. I don’t want to make decisions out of fear.

Because in the end, our lives will be defined not by what we thought about doing, but by what we actually did. Tweet this!

Have you ever experienced paralysis by analysis? Are you the type to overthink things, or do you jump right in?