Decision paralysis is a finding from psychology that says that “the more choices we have, the more likely we are to freeze up and go with the path of least resistance.”
In his book, The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz remarks that as an individual faces more and more options, they become overloaded, “choice no longer liberates, but debilitates. It might even be said to tyrannize.” More options, even good ones, can freeze us, leading us to stick with the “default” plan.
Take a second to think about decision paralysis in terms of your career…sound eerily familiar?
In this country, in this day and age, there’s no question we’re very lucky to have a multitude of options when it comes to what to do for a living (think about all the jobs out there now that didn’t even exist 5 years ago). With so many choices, wouldn’t you rather let someone else make the decision for you? Do that and the chances of living a black-and-white life are pretty high.
The truth is, many of us didn’t make a choice at the beginning of our careers and now we feel stuck or completely disengaged in the work we do. It seems too hard to go down another road, so we stay where we are.
While it isn’t rational behavior, decision paralysis is human behavior. You’re normal (and you’re not alone). Here’s how to beat it:
Get to know yourself. Explore your interests and find your sweet spot.
Keep it simple. Start with where you are. Think about small ways to fold your interests into what you already do.
Take a risk. Get motivated by watching Rachael Chong talk about her perspective on risk.
Still feeling stuck? Talk to us in the comments below. We’ll help you blast that indecision and turn intentions into action!