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The Paralysis of Analysis

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May 2003
The Paralysis of Analysis

By MOHAN KAPUR

Are you into over-analysis? Do you know of a great idea for your business that you?ve been wishing to implement and haven?t done? yet? What are you waiting for?

Do you keep staring at a blank page? It?s an enormous task and you can?t get past writing the first sentence. It just has to be perfect. All obstacles need to be identified and overcome before you can go further. You do not want to write anything incorrect. Sounds familiar?

You may be the sharpest person in your industry as your attention for detail is unmatched. But the chances are that you are bogged down with analysis paralysis syndrome. You tend to link your identity to your performance, and hence, want to analyze everything to perfection so that your identity does not get eroded!

Yet, you have to learn to overcome your fear of failure. Mistakes are a part of success and need to be detached from your self-worth (identity). As someone once observed: ?There are lots of ways to be a failure, but never taking a chance is the most successful.?

What can you do to overcome this syndrome?

1. Write down your idea/s. If you do not write down your idea/s immediately, they will be forgotten within minutes or even seconds. It would be a good idea to carry a system so that ideas can be written down with a minimum response time and little discomfort.

2. Float the idea with others. By sharing the idea with a few people whose opinion you value, you can actually develop it to become bigger, clearer and far superior to what you originally started with.

3. Set a target date for implementation. Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, observed, ?Everyone who?s ever taken a shower has an idea. It?s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.? Once you have determined the idea is valuable, set a deadline to put it into practice. This will encourage and motivate you as well as those working with you, to start focusing on the actual implementation.

4. Bury your past perceptions. Samuel Johnson said, ?Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.? Do not let your experiences or those of others bog you down. Start thinking ?outside the box?, rather than from your past. Make a plan of action of the things you ?can do? on that idea. St. Francis of Assisi has put it brilliantly: ?Start by doing what?s necessary, then do what?s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.?

5. Just do it. This is not just Nike?s tag line, but the only real way to act on the idea. ?While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.? (Henry C. Link). It?s much easier to ?act your way to thinking? than to ?think your way into acting?. The more time you spend acting on great ideas, the sooner you?ll increase the success levels for you and your organization! Break your idea into small, manageable steps and take your first step today.

Make a commitment to implementing your idea today rather than analyzing it to death. As somebody once remarked, ?Most people spend more time planning their grocery shopping than designing their future.? The basic difference between people who live their dreams and those who only dream how they would live is their ability to take action. Do not intellectualize ideas; implement them!

[Mohan Kapur of the SPARC Group is a leading expert in improving measurable performance of organizations and professionals. He can be reached at 678-357-0055 or by Email: mohan_kapur@hotmail.com]


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