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  • Writer's pictureNathaniel Siems

Paralysis By Analysis

One of my University Old Testament Theology Professors used to have a saying for when someone was trying to get a bearing on how to make a decision or find a way to move forward.

"What is your best sense of what you should be do right now?"

The thought behind this is quite simple. It's clear you don't have all of the answers at this given moment, otherwise you wouldn't be asking what you should do. So take a breath and ask yourself, what is the first step I should take given the answers or feelings I currently have? The purpose of this question is to get you to MAKE A DECISION and MOVE. The phrase "Paralysis of Analysis" means you are preparing and thinking trying to make the best decision, but you spend all of your time and focus on just that; preparing and thinking. Now don't misunderstand me, those are highly important and I recommend you think and prepare often, but when that is all you do that is all you will ever do.

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, talks about this as the difference between motion and action. We get caught up in going through the motions that we think we are making progress. However, movement and action are not the same thing. An example would be the individual who wants to start a business so they read every book they can get their hands on, take every class on entrepreneurship, watch every motivational YouTube video... you get the picture. They feel accomplished and I imagine they have learned a great deal, but they haven't started a business... Motion < Action

“There’s a difference between motion and action. For example: Searching for a good diet/reading books on the topic vs. Eating a healthy meal.”

-James Clear (Atomic Habits pg. 142)

To dig a bit deeper, millionaire entrepreneur and overall inspiring businessman Alex Hormozi encourages us to think of the person we truly desire to be and make every decision asking "what would do?" Yes, the same idea as WWJD (what would Jesus do) that was popular in the 90s. Be extravagant but honest with who this avatar is for you. Do you fully aspire to be a millionaire entrepreneur, the best English teacher in your state, the most admired, respected and sought after coach in your sport, etc? When you have that person in mind, make all of your decision asking what would do in this situation? You won't always know for a fact what that person would do, but what is your best sense of what that person would do? Now do that. When you live your life like the person you desire to be, odds are pretty good you will start to look like that person.

I write all of this because it has hit home for me over the past 6 months and has been life changing. I hope you find this helpful, and thank you for reading.


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