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  • Sam Choate

Option Paralysis Pt. 2

Last week, we opened up the topic of "option paralysis", which can be described as, "having so many choices that we become overwhelmed and make no choice."


This week I want to talk about how we can overcome that natural tendency through practice.


Notice how I didn't say, "overcome it because we don't struggle with it", nor did I say, "never experience it again."


The key I have found to overcoming unwanted habits or tendencies is to fully understand why we behave that way in the first place. In the case of option paralysis, I generally find that it comes from a lack of confidence in my choice.


The lack of confidence in my choice usually comes from not knowing what I want and not knowing what I want usually comes from a failure on my part to know myself in the specific area.


This is a good time to come back to Bruce Lee's wisdom, "Learn it all, then forget it all". When was the last time overthinking something led you to make a strong, confident choice? Likely, never.


My simple advice to you is to get into the habit (practice) of learning as much as you can about your desired outcome. Want a new audio interface? Start with the experience you want to have with one. What do you need it to do? Want a new guitar? Same thing. New microphone? Thinking about singing lessons? Same thing. What do you want the desired outcome to be? There are a finite number of choices you can make to get where you want to be, rather than an infinite number of choices to get anywhere.


Start with the end result in mind, whether that be in your mix, your relationships, your guitar collection, or whatever!


"But Sam, what if I don't know what I want the end to look like?"


There are things we can't know and things we don't know.


Try to keep an open, albeit skeptical mind in learning as much of the things you don't know, and practice coming to terms with the things you can't know. This will equip you to make the best possible decision in any given time, which will then allow you to remind yourself that you did your best with what you had should things go poorly, rather than heaping shame onto yourself.


It's not if, it's when. Sometimes you'll make mistakes. But that's just how we learn in life. So try to keep an open mind, and a humble heart when you do make a mistake, because it's simply an opportunity to learn a better way!


Experiencing option paralysis? Give it the finger by making an informed and timely decision, then, if you need to, adjust course! We're all human beings trying to figure life out! Seek some expertise, but ultimately, only you can decide the right option for you, and the only way you'll truly know is by making that decision. So, saddle up, and let's get ready for the ride!

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