Option paralysis is defined by the almighty Urban Dictionary as, "The tendency, when given unlimited choices, to make none."
Now, you might be wondering, "why should I care?" Well, let me just answer that. Or should I? Or maybe later. I do kind of need to take the dog on a walk. But the oven's dirty! Ugh. How can I create any masterpieces when the LAUNDRY hasn't been taken for a walk??
Ok. I think I made my point. There's 2 ways that I notice option paralysis presenting it's charming, yet dreadful face. And to help combat it, we will need to implement the following wisdom from none other than Bruce Lee, himself.
We'll come back to that quote later.
1. Productive Procrastination.
Well. that's actually a summary of both. What I mean is that when faced with a daunting task, it's much easier to go do those little to-dos and chores we've been putting off, because after all, "we're being pRodDuctiVE!"
Ok, but who cares? And I'm not saying to leave your toilet unclean. These tasks have a definite time and place, but you have to watch yourself carefully so that you can be that you're doing them at an appropriate time, rather than catching yourself compulsively scrubbing floors every time you're faced with some free time to work on your craft.
I find that I'm most tempted to do this kind of "busy work" when I lack structure to my day. Idle hands really are the devils workshop in this scenario and you've got to be careful in these times that you're staying on task towards your goals, rather than spinning your own wheels.
Oof. If there was ever a more loaded topic, or personal attack on everyone and their dog in this day and age. Scrolling is the thing that brought you to my blog (yay!), and it's also the thing that wastes your time. Wastes. Wastes. Wastes. So much so, that there's even an entire subreddit dedicated to stopping mindlessly scrolling called r/nosurf.
But not all scrolling was created equally. Sometimes it might be scrolling through your 540,437 Kemper profiles to find that ONE GLORIOUS TONE that will surely make your song stand out. Maybe it's even endlessly tweaking knobs on your reverb unit. Maybe it's never committing to anything in your life and ending up hopelessly alone despite your attempts at filling the void through hoarding copies of Pets Magazine.
(That last one never happened to me.)
We live in a gloriously self-defeating time of near infinite options. From our partners to our plugins, it's so easy to get bogged down in FOMO (fear of missing out) and never commit to anything. It's so easy when we can reamp our guitar tones, change which preamp we're modelling with UAD's Unison Preamp technology, even change which microphone polar pattern we want after recording with Lewitt's LCT 640-TS.
With all of these options at every step of the creative process, how can we ever really decide on anything?
That's where we come back to Bruce Lee.
"Learn it all, then forget it all."
In order to commit, we need to do as much research as possible aobut what we like; Educate ourselves to the highest extent. "OH BOY," I bet you're thinking. "I LOVE research! It keeps me up until 4AM SOME NIGHTS!" Ok, calm down Mr. Mental Masturbation. You will never know everything there is to know about a topic. And that's okay. We're eventually going to have to execute.
Stay tuned for part 2...