Over-thinking it

Posted on April 28, 2010 | by Alex

It seems important decisions pop up every day in all walks of life.  In investing, we decide whether to double down on Apple stock and bet big that the iPad will be the second coming.  In business, it’s about how far to push sarcasm and humor in a big pitch full of people you don’t know. In sports, say in football, a player must decide whether to swat the ball away or go for the interception.

It’s common to over-think these important decisions which unfortunately takes focus away from other, equally important questions.  What other stocks are out there to be had?  What will the core message of the pitch be?  What is that blur in the corner of my eye wearing the other team’s jersey coming right at me?

I recently had an important decision to make. Do I stay with the big company or join up with this smaller one? My gut immediately was screaming “go with the smaller one.”  However, I went on to ask every person I thought could help shed some light on which choice was the right one.  I surveyed literally dozens of people who were happy to offer up their advice.  While I’m thankful for their guidance, this major decision paralyzed me.  It distracted me from time with my friends and family as well as the work that still needed to be done.  Making things worse, after all of the research I did there was still no clear choice.  Both opportunities presented interesting challenges. I had invested all of this time and stress and I was no closer than when my gut said “just do it.”

We often say an athlete is at their best when they “just do it;” when they let instincts take over;  when they let the valuable lessons from years of experience shape their decisions in a heartbeat allowing them to take the risk to make a big play.  Good athletes make those big plays more times than not.

It’s time to adopt this “just do it” attitude, especially in business, and start listening to our gut so we’re not paralyzed spending valuable time over-thinking; stopping us from going after the big play we know we can make.

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      April 29th, 2010 @ 8:26 am

      Eric Pubentz said:

      I couldn’t agree with this more. If you want to read a brilliant book about the phenomenon of the power of instinct, check out “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell. A lot of it deals with the doctor who has studied microexpressions and is the inspiration for the show “Lie To Me” with Tim Roth.