Paralysis of Analysis

Wikipedia: Analysis paralysis or paralysis of analysis is an anti-pattern, the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. A decision can be treated as over-complicated, with too many detailed options, so that a choice is never made, rather than try something and change if a major problem arises. A person might be seeking the optimal or “perfect” solution upfront, and fear making any decision which could lead to erroneous results, when on the way to a better solution.

This phrase seemed comical when I heard the studio engineer use it in reference to the final mix-down phase of my recently completed CD. I had never heard this before, at least not to a degree where it actually resonated in my mind at all. But here, in the final stages of my CD production, the meaning sunk home with the impact of a slap to the face. I have always been hyper critical of my performances, and had never felt satisfied with any of my previous attempts.

And so the process of mixing my songs into a state of digestible consumption continued in the most basic format.  I made the choice to substitute the paralysis of analysis with trust and intuition in the combination of the expertise of the studio engineer, thousands of edits, and a few “happy mistakes”. Now my CD project is complete!   As I sat pondering a topic for today’s blog, I was suddenly aware of how characteristically similar this concept carries into just about any subject. In this case, conversations about health care, advanced care planning, and end of life discussions.

Anyone reasonably concerned with preparing for the future would begin with an assessment of the currently available resources and forecasting of probable future needs.  Following up with a plan and then evaluation of the implementation of our wishes is where the paralysis is most likely to occur. We will not know what the outcome will be. We will not know until it happens what we will likely need. There are a growing number of studies now that support the importance of advanced care planning but there are no survivors who can testify as to the quality of life they received during their last moments. Only the surviving family, friends, and caregivers remain with whatever bias they may or may not be reporting from. History is written by the victorious. But in this case of preparation for death, no one gets out alive. The finite nature of this fact alone can cause people to go numb and be unable to make choices or act.  The national median hospice length of stay is frighteningly low at 18.5 days (NHPCO). I have admitted many people to hospice in my 10 years of service who do not live even a week, thereby missing the majority of support available emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Caring Choices offers the motivation to avoid the gridlock of indecision and the stagnation of inertia before it can stall the benefits of having expressed your feelings, emotional fears, and concerns while you are able. Often just a few minutes of listening can make a huge difference for someone who is struggling with the fear of death, advancing disease, or general decline of aging.

© 2015 Caring Choices