Analysis Paralysis: What I learned by falling

January 17th, 2020 ∙ Personal Growth & Development

Yesterday, I went rock climbing in an indoor gym. It’s one of my favorite activities because this activity works my mind and body.

I strap in and start my ascent up the wall. Right away, I’m challenged with how to get my feet on the wall so I can position myself to the next step. I try a few options and finally get a position where I feel comfortable and go with it.

As I keep stepping up the wall, I am slowly reaching and “testing” each option I have.

I’m now at about 90% up the 35-foot wall, the end is clearly in sight. One more major challenge and I have this wall done.

With a firm stance on the wall, I see a route that I could take, but I pause to evaluate my other options. To get a better view, I pull my head away from the wall and look around.

I see a second potential route and then all of a sudden…. BAM!!! I completely fall off the wall. There was no warning. I immediately detached and gravity handled the rest.

Within microseconds of falling, the first thing to hit my mind was the phrase “Analysis Paralysis”.

What went wrong

My friend Dan Pastori mentioned “analysis paralysis” to me earlier this week and all of a sudden everything made sense.

While I felt that I was “focusing on my mission” of getting to the top, all of my decisions had the intention of “getting comfortable”. The comfort felt great until I realized it’s what killed me.

Time was against me. The longer I stayed on that wall, the more energy I burned. I cannot control time, but I can control how efficiently I work within the constraints time gives me.

I was so distracted from my mission and lacked so much confidence in myself, that I foolishly pulled my head away from the wall — putting even more strain on my muscles that were holding me up.

This was such a novice and stupid mistake. Easy to say this now, but you will be amazed how foolish you act when you are your biggest distraction.

So did I fall because of physical weakness? I am definitely not Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I would say this was a mental failure more than anything.

I burned “too much fuel” getting comfortable when I needed to dedicate my fuel towards actual movement.

What is paralyzing you?

I challenge you to identify the areas where you are spending too much time in “analysis” mode. While you have those situations in mind, replace the word “analysis” with the term “paralysis”. View it from the perspective that you are not moving at all and that time is still ticking.

Do you think it is worth your energy to keep betting against yourself and give yourself more time to think? Or do you need to make a decision before you are the next one to “fall off the wall”?

Let’s be real: It’s good to have a balance of analysis and action, but 9 times out of 10 we burn too much fuel seeking comfort. At the end of the day, comfort doesn’t get us to the top.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this one. Have a good one!

(P.S. If you haven’t climbed at one of these gyms before, they do require you to wear a safety harness. So to be clear, there were no “Jays” injured in the creation of this blog post.)

Like this post? Have additional thoughts?

If you liked this article, encourage me to keep writing by sharing it with your friends. If you have additional thoughts or a question, join the discussion on Twitter:
Hello! My name is Jay Rogers.

I like to have meaningful conversations with others who share the passion of continuous personal improvement. I'm the Co-Founder of 521 Dimensions where I'm a DevOps engineer that accidently ended up in application & user-experience design. 🤖🎨

Please say hello to me on Twitter, Strava, LinkedIn or my email list. I'm also a huge believer in an open Internet, so feel free to subscribe on RSS as well. I would love to hear what you are working on!