Analysis paralysis is when you have an idea or a goal that will improve your life, but self-doubt causes you to hesitate initiating the steps towards achieving the goal because you want to make sure that it's going to work or that everything is in place before you start.
This hesitation shows itself in different ways.
Some people take endless courses, which makes them feel like they are immersed in the activity they are trying to improve in.
For instance, someone takes sales course after sales course as a way of avoiding going out and actually making a sale.
The character Zonker Harris in the comic strip Doonsbury was a professional student who remained in college for as long as possible to avoid having to go out into the real world.
Others never take the first step because they are entrenched in their comfort zone and would rather avoid trying something new than to try something new and fail or fall short.
"The known devil is better than the unknown devil" is their mind-set and strategy for living.
Rather than improving his or her skills to get a better job or to walk away from a bad relationship, he or she stays because he or she is afraid that things will only get worse.
This is another example of short-term gain for long-term pain.
These people will talk and complain about their situation, but never take the action to improve it.
They will say things like, "It's too late for me...
" "What am I going to do? I'm 46 years old!" "He's a friend.
He doesn't have the money to give me a raise...
" They will come up with all kinds of excuses to justify their lack of action.
The truth, as Mark Twain said is that, "You can have a thousand good excuses but not one good reason.
" Here is a great strategy that has worked for me for years.
Fire-Ready-Aim is meant to help you kick-start your progress.
It's designed to create a sense of urgency from idea to implementation.
The traditional process of Ready-Aim-Fire is a process of preparation (Ready) specific direction (Aim) and then implementation (Fire).
The problem with this strategy is that it's easy to get stuck in the Ready and Aim segments.
As I described above, many people seem to spend their entire adult lives "getting ready.
" Here is the reality.
Any goal worth reaching will not be achieved without encountering some kind of speed bumps along the way.
You can prepare as much as you like, but once you pull the trigger you will start to get feedback that will help you stay on course.
The sooner you begin to get feedback, the quicker you can make your course adjustments.
Preparation doesn't give you real time feedback.
It gives you theories of what may happen.
Theories don't move your forward.
Fire - Ready - Aim reverses the traditional process to jump-start your progress and the feedback process.
The idea is to "make the mess and clean it up later.
" Get on with it.
Go! Go! Go! Pull the trigger on the project first and make the adjustments as you go.
Develop a sense of urgency in everything you do.
There is an obvious caution that I have to issue regarding this strategy.
If your goal is to become an airline pilot, fly-ready-aim would not be a smart strategy.
There are plenty of projects and goals where it makes sense to get the skills required to not kill yourself and others.
But, in my experience, the vast majority of projects and goals that people set would be far more easily reached by pulling the trigger before getting caught in analysis paralysis.
Pulling the trigger may well be taking a course of study, but not to avoid the actual activity with endless training programs.
I don't want to diminish the importance of self-education.
I attribute my success to what I've learned through reading books like this, listening to audio programs and attending courses.
But here is a good rule.
If you spend three days at a course, spend the next nine days doing what you learned.
Spend three times as much time doing rather then learning.
Here are some examples from my life.
After my divorce, I was 45, semi-bald, still being sued by my biggest fan and "out there" for the first time in over a decade.
One of the key strategies I learned in how to meet women is the three-second rule.
The three-second rule is that as soon as you see someone who attracts you, you must approach her within three seconds.
This is classic Fire-Ready-Aim.
Most guys have approach anxiety, I certainly do.
This strategy eliminates the Ready-Aim because the anxiety of making the approach would create self-doubt, which typically would lead you to talk yourself out of doing it.
The three-second rule forces you out of your comfort zone and into the arena.
It's a great strategy and it works like a charm.