Analysis Paralysis: When indecisiveness takes over as the uncontested decision

analysis paralysis

It’s a classic case of being spoilt for choice presenting itself as so much paradoxical an occurrence within the realm of human existence. And however unreal this even more eloquently expressed catchphrase of an ’embarrassment of the riches’ might strike as, turns out that more often than not we indeed are impaired by the abundance of what presents rather than a limitation set by what doesn’t.

All of these sounds purely hypothetical and surely paradoxical when they are relayed in terms rather profuse in the idiomatic tone of saying. But consider them in a language that speaks the jargon of psychology and one would be in disbelief almost of the extent to which one can be crippled by an overabundance of choices as promulgated all along by many such ‘wise sayings’. Emerging as a jarring narrative and one that makes for a striking assertion in the stinging choice of words while being adequately honest still is such a concept of the ‘analysis paralysis’. And while the essence of what it relays might be perplexing in its complex nomenclature, the point is clarified through its alternate identities as decision paralysis or even simplified further as choice paralysis.

Source: Foodboro

This is where the premise starts getting relatable since none of us have ever been immune to that power of what the privilege of choice can entail. Think of the many number of times an essentially inconsequential but momentarily important decision of picking your favorite something from the aisle led you to dwell and debate over so many factors guiding that buy. And then as you finally move away from the spot having made your mind somehow, you still find yourself yearning for the other option that had to be foregone, even contemplating perhaps whether that would have made for a worthier pick. Through these and numerous such instances in which life occurs, we all have been somewhat paralysed by the analytic bent of mind humans are known to possess. Of course the gravity of such situations however are nothing when compared to the more concerning areas that it specifically considers for exhaustive elaboration.

Come to think of it and the more common terms simplifying this notion as being derived out of the necessities of decision and choice happens to be self explanatory. In fact with the average human supposedly making some 35000 decisions per day, the number of times we need to exert our choices is enormous indeed. That itself is quite a huge measure of the toll upon our psychological/ mental existence which is why an adhering of such description as serious as the analysis paralysis combo to it testifies most appropriately the measure of stress it is.

Decision paralysis might be brought about by a seeming overabundance of choices which ordinarily presents as being a rather conducive proposition. What it leads to through this manner of deliberation is something as unproductive as the ills of procrastination. But the paralysis aspect of such reference isn’t just limited to explaining the kind of effect it induces- or rather retards in terms of not getting work done. The impact is also as pronounced in what the human feels in physical and emotional manners of occurring for it to justify then its likening to a paralytic state of existence.

Source: Todoist

Decision paralysis is much specific in what it attends to. As a process in decision making that occurs as an overwhelming exertion upon your faculties, this is an alluding particularly to such instances where the emotional cost of making a decision is high enough to make one opt for another less viable, even originally non existent prospect. It wouldn’t also be uncharacteristic of the analysis paralysis happening to lead one to such despair in decision making so as to have them abandon the pursuit altogether. And then there of course exists as well that tempting prospect of choosing to postpone the decision for a later time- one that only seldom arrives.

Needless to say this problem of having too much choices then presents as a liability that impairs productivity on one hand and personal wellness on the other. But while the professional repercussions of this event might be rather evident and apparent, the health consequences might not be so glaring to someone not usually conversant with this being but an existence on the very spectrum of reality. For the affected individual though, the stress rather weighs down upon their being through assertions of anxiety and loss of focus on one hand and fatigue and sleeplessness on the other.

Analysis paralysis then falls into that archetype of classification evoked by the overthinking trait of humankind. But there also would be other associated, even complementary factors and cause through which this debilitating state of existence can be induced. And while it is easy to brush aside this phenomenon as something specific to inexperienced people who do not quite have the mental diligence yet to make quick and informed decisions, the fact of the matter is that such indecisiveness isn’t always grown out through the years.

Source: Inc. Magazine

Consider two very common understandings that have been fostered as classic cases of analysis paralysis and one would be taken aback by the definiteness of its asserting. Both of these are accounts emerging from the sporting world with some of the most seasoned players consistently falling to this ploy in ‘failing’. Choking is the term generally describing such anxiety affected performance but particularly well encapsulated and demonstrated is this power of an impaired decision making through the widely prevalent cricketing catastrophe of the nervous nineties. Even when research has found this propensity to get out in their nineties more attributable to playing strategies and therefore harbouring a strictly sporting character, the fallibility of decision making has continued to be cited as the basis of these recurring misfortune of even some of the world’s most celebrated cricketers.

Analysis paralysis has therefore be reinterpreted as decidophobia: a lack of ability to decide due to fear of making the wrong choice. It would also be appropriate here to explore another set of terms that which might be rather helpful in explaining the truer basis of this paradoxical sounding mental awareness of a paralysis setting in. For people whose decision making is centered on the principle of the ends being efficiently met rather than an endless poring and probing into the various ways and means through which varying standards of the same result can be yielded, the probability of such overwhelming experience is obviously lesser.

Source: A collection of thoughts and musings

These people are what have been described as satisficers while the other identity of the maximizers that which can include perfectionists as well as people pleasers and definitely those of a lesser confident identity as well are more prone to mental paralysism taking over their analytical functionality. But despite these traits of individual occurring that might make one predisposed to emerge as decisionally paralysed, this isn’t something one cannot overcome.

As long as the problem of plenty continues, so will this facing with indecision be uninterrupted as well. And while it involves also the aftereffects even of making a decision that sets in in the form of regret of having opted for one over the other, the ‘despair’ can be lesser felt if one chooses to acknowledge instead the privilege they possess on account of the plentiness. Reading too much into every situation is only going to send your brains on an overdrive and it is best to reserve our grey matter for more crucial decisions that actually demands and deserves that level of intense scrutiny. For all other instances in living, let’s just learn to go of what isn’t meant to be and enjoy all that we have earned for ourselves.