Let's talk decision paralysis. But first, Breeks (not a typo).
And yes, it's also about Breeks.
"There was once an old sailor my grandfather knew
Who had so many things which he wanted to do
That, whenever he thought it was time to begin,
He couldn’t because of the state he was in.
He was shipwrecked, and lived on an island for weeks,
And he wanted a hat, and he wanted some breeks;
And he wanted some nets, or a line and some hooks
For the turtles and things which you read of in books.
And, thinking of this, he remembered a thing
Which he wanted (for water) and that was a spring;
And he thought that to talk to he’d look for, and keep
(If he found it) a goat, or some chickens and sheep.
Then, because of the weather, he wanted a hut
With a door (to come in by) which opened and shut
(With a jerk, which was useful if snakes were about),
And a very strong lock to keep savages out.
So he thought of his hut … and he thought of his boat,
And his hat and his breeks, and his chickens and goat,
And the hooks (for his food) and the spring (for his thirst) …
But he never could think which he ought to do first.
And so in the end he did nothing at all,
But basked on the shingle wrapped up in a shawl.
And I think it was dreadful the way he behaved -
He did nothing but basking until he was saved."
Aside from being delightfully funny, I think this poem offers a profound commentary on a very common problem in this day and age. We want The Best things for our careers or our lives or our families, and so we theorize and dream, but hesitate to actually pursue a course of action that we know is fine and good because... there might be a better one out there.
I am a very risk averse, overly-analytical person by nature, so trying to shed this decision-paralysis tendency has been--and still is--a process. But I have been gradually realizing that the best (lol, I said "best") way to make progress is to simply take advantage of the good (if not glamorous) opportunities that lie one or two steps in front of me. When I do this, a few things happen.
- I build momentum, which is necessary to break the gravitational pull of stagnation and achieve escape velocity
- After stringing together a few of these common, run-of-the-mill opportunities I am actually in a better position to evaluate my direction and my other options
- I actually ACCOMPLISH things, which is the bees knees
There is a biblical proverb that says "Trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness." I have found it interesting that this verse doesn't say "Trust in the Lord and do the very best possible thing." And what a mercy this is, for when would we possibly know what the best possible thing is? Certainly not before committing to any courses of action.
You'll have your own personal island resort, complete with landing strip, satellite internet, and Amazon Prime.