Skip to content

Analysis Paralysis And How To Conquer The Fear Of Failure

This is guest post from Isaac Moche of The Campus Companion.

My roommate, Dan, is an inventor. At least he thinks he’s one. Funny thing is, I’ve never seen him actually invent anything. Every time I talk to him, I hear about the next big idea that’s “definitely going to change the world”. Some of his ideas are great. Others…not so much. But they all have the same thing in common: You’ll never get to use them, because these inventions will never see the light of day.

Dan has analysis paralysis, which means he overthinks ideas to the point of never taking action on anything at all.  His analysis paralysis manifests itself as “market research.”

What does yours go by?

It might sound crazy, but you’re probably guilty of this too.  You might not be contemplating ways to change the world, but chances are there’s some great idea hiding out in your brain, just waiting to break free.

A lot of us have created barriers to our own success, and they go by a lot of names: “due diligence”, “look before you leap”, or “think twice and speak once.” All great piece of advice, but follow them too far and you’ll be thinking all day without ever taking action.

If that sounds like you, congratulations, you’ve got analysis paralysis. Now that we’ve diagnosed you, here are three ways to make sure your great ideas become reality.

1. Master The Balancing Act

The flip side of analysis paralysis goes by the name “extinct by instinct”, whereby you seriously mess things up by acting too hastily. The key is to find the happy medium.

Don’t dive into something without doing your research, as you’ll find yourself woefully unprepared for what’s in store.

Still, at some point, you’ve got nothing more to gain from fine-tuning your idea, reading case studies, or asking the opinion of friends – you’ve got to jump in. Sure, you might overshoot and pay for it sometimes, but those are the experiences your learn from.

2. Stop Talking, Start Walking

In the movie Hustle and Flow, Terrence Howard’s character receives a great piece of advice from his friend:

“There are two types of people: those that talk the talk and those that walk the walk. People who walk the walk sometimes talk the talk but most times they don’t talk at all, ’cause they walkin’.”

It’s hard to deliver the goods when you’re busy telling everyone how smart you are or how great your idea is.  It’s time to put your money where your mouth is, because you can’t put your plans for greatness on a resume.  Well, you can – but it won’t help you get hired.

3. Embrace Failure

Thomas Edison famously said that he “failed his way to success.” Get used to the fact that you’re going to mess up in a myriad of silly, cringe-worthy and embarrassing ways. That’s just a fact of college life.

The dirty little secret of success is that it often isn’t as sexy as people think. There’s a lot of falling on your face to be done, so stop doubting yourself and just get to it. You’re in your prime years of failure, so don’t mess it up by not messing up.