How to Deal with Analysis Paralysis

analysis paralysis stock market

We have all experienced analysis paralysis in one situation or another. That nagging feeling that you need to look deeper into something before deciding on or pursuing something. Often, this feeling leads to more inaction than better actions.

This blog mostly focuses on investments and side hustles, so I will focus on analysis paralysis from this point of view. However, this concept applies to nearly every decision we make. From simple choices like what to eat to complex decisions like which house to buy. So regardless of your personal analysis paralysis, please continue reading.

What is Analysis Paralysis?

During the decision-making process, we must analyze our situation. This sounds very “sciencey”, but this simply means looking at all aspects of our situation to give us the best possible chance to make the right decision. 

During this analysis process, it is easy to get caught up in all the details we see. When beginning in the stock market, we want to make the best possible decisions. So we may look deeply into dozens of companies, pouring over financials, history, public perception, the whole lot. Or we may compare investing in the market to real estate or crypto investing, figuring out which will build the most wealth. 

All the while, we have invested in nothing. We have made no moves to build wealth. This exact situation is a common reason for people not being invested in anything. They want to make just the right decision, so they never make any decision at all.

Of course, there is a balance to this. You should think through your decisions before making them, otherwise, you are throwing away opportunities. Just work to make sure that this process leads to more than just inaction.

What Causes Analysis Paralysis?

Analysis paralysis is generally due to someone wanting to make the best possible decision in a given situation.

We are surrounded by people who always make the “perfect” decisions. We see people on social media showing off their “perfect” lives. People on YouTube show off how their “perfect” investments have made them rich beyond their wildest dreams. Influencers show off the decisions that led to their “perfect” lives.

It is very easy to get caught up in thinking that we must live up to these manufactured expectations. If we don’t live up to them, then we must have made the incorrect decision.

Recurring Decisions

Analysis paralysis also applies to recurring decisions. Continuing to invest, continuing to save, continuing that side hustle. When we have “failed” once in relation to our expectations, we don’t want to try again without assurances we have made a better decision this time. 

This is of course understandable. It’s scary to fail and not know whether you’ll be able to succeed this time. 

Where Analysis Paralysis Shows Up

In the context of the stock market, the first stock that many of us pick may fail. My first purchase was AMC, and if you look back over the last year of that, you’ll see the disappointment. When I invested and saw my pick fail, it was tempting to give up entirely. Or at the very least hold back and spend a lot of time finding the next perfect stock. Instead, I kept investing, even if they weren’t always the perfect decisions. I am extremely glad that I did, and I know my future self will be too because of how I have set myself up.

People are also hesitant to invest because they worry whether now is the perfect time. Maybe if they just waited “x” amount of time it would be perfect.

If your analysis paralysis is in relation to a side hustle, you may not want to waste time and money on a side hustle that won’t lead anywhere. After all, we have a finite amount of money and time. I tried multiple side hustles myself before landing here with blogging. 

How to Deal with Analysis Paralysis

The important thing about analysis paralysis is not to be perfect at avoiding it. What’s important is to recognize it when it happens and know how to get through it. We are all beings that want perfect lives. Even if that isn’t possible, don’t let that get in the way of the amazing life you could have.

So now let’s go over how you can shift your mindset to avoid analysis paralysis.

Failure is Inevitable

Success isn’t had by those who sit and think about success. Success is had by those who fail enough times that they succeed.

Every single person on this earth has failed in one way or another. From those who were fed with a silver spoon to those who were born into poverty. Failure is a constant among everyone. 

Failure will affect everyone differently, depending on their mindset, and how much they rely on a venture’s success. All we can do is optimize our reaction to failure.

It’s cliché to say to see failure as a learning opportunity, no matter how true it is. So instead, I would recommend viewing failure as inevitable. I know I know, this sounds depressing. But please just hear me out.

If you listen to anyone honestly detail their road to success, it is full of failure. Whether or not they learned from these failures, they happened. I know that during this process of finding a successful side hustle, I will fail, and I have. I know that many of the posts I make in the beginning won’t get any traction, and they haven’t. Knowing that this failure will happen has allowed me to continue writing regardless of failures. I see them as an inevitable part of the process. This helps me avoid the trap of sitting for hours at a time trying to find the perfect topic to write or make a video about.

You Learn the Most from Doing

Again, I’m trying to avoid the cliché of learning from your failures. Instead, in my experience, you learn the most from just plain doing. Irrespective of whether that leads to success or failure.

Think about the last time you tried to learn something. You may have read about it prior to trying it. Maybe you even watched tutorials. But I would feel very confident saying that you found things that you didn’t know once you started doing the thing.

Let’s think about starting a YouTube channel as a side hustle as an example. You watch a bunch of tutorials on filming, speaking, editing, etc. Throughout this process, I guarantee there are other things you find you need to Google that weren’t in the tutorials. So, you learn more skills.

Then you get your first video uploaded and it gets no views. All those videos showed you how to make a solid video, and maybe even mentioned that you will likely start with no views. But just consuming information about your situation didn’t teach you how you personally cope with this failure. This experience will teach you how you absorb failure, and how you can shift your mindset to keep pushing even when you fail.

I think we can all agree that this process above is a valuable process to go through. You begin to learn a new skill, utilize those skills to make a video, and learn how you cope with failure. What downside is there to that experience? Aside from maybe a week or two of spare time, let’s say around 15 hours, nothing. Nothing was lost, but much was gained.

Think about this next time you struggle with analysis paralysis. You stand to gain far more than you stand to lose by just moving forward.

Set Up a Decision Deadline

Sometimes, just a mindset shift isn’t enough to overcome analysis paralysis. A hard and fast rule may be necessary to get you to follow through.

Setting up a deadline in the near future can be a very helpful tool. Before or on this date, you need to decide. Even if you still don’t feel entirely confident about your decision, you will follow through.

If you still don’t feel confident by this date, it will be very scary. You will feel like you just need a bit more time to come to a decision you are comfortable with. But let’s face it, if you aren’t comfortable by now, you won’t be any time soon.

Plus, as I’ve talked about above, you stand to gain so much by just trying the thing, instead of just waiting.

Focus on Something Else

Much of the time, analysis paralysis is caused by being down in the weeds of a decision for too long. It’s easy to get caught up on the small decisions that make a 5% difference instead of stepping back and seeing the big 50% differences. 

A great way to achieve this mindset shift is to focus on something else for a bit. Get your mind off of the decision and think about anything but that.

Even a 30-minute walk can be enough to help you gain a fresh perspective on the situation at hand. Or spending an hour working on a hobby you enjoy that’s unrelated to your predicament. 

I would recommend focusing on something completely unrelated. If you are struggling with a decision related to your side hustle, don’t work on another aspect of your side hustle to clear your mind. Instead, focus on something else entirely.

Practice Acceptance

I don’t mean to simply accept failure. Although, that’s certainly a possibility. I mean to accept an imperfect outcome. Even after we do our absolute best to make a good decision, it won’t always turn out how we want it to.

The people who are able to truly succeed are those who are able to make decisions and accept imperfect outcomes. These people learn to accept and learn from these outcomes and better themselves for the future. 

Push yourself to be one of these people to see the kind of success you want to see.

Closing Thoughts

We all experience analysis paralysis. We all want to make the best decisions we can and find the most success possible. The goal isn’t to avoid analysis paralysis entirely. Instead, the goal is to learn how you personally need to manage it and push through.

I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors to better yourself and push through analysis paralysis.

Please let me know in the comments what sort of analysis paralysis has affected you before, and how you dealt with it. We can all learn from each other’s experiences to better ourselves. Talk to you next time!

Evan from My Money Marathon

Evan from My Money Marathon

Hey, my name is Evan. I am a personal finance blogger passionate about bringing beginner
investors into the stock market world. Go here to read about my story, from knowing
nothing about investing to being well on my way to financial independence.

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