The premise of this article is that you get what you pay for…or that you get out of something as much as you put into it. If you are always looking for short-cuts or the easy way out you will inevitably fail or get crappy results.
Your plans will break down, you will get discouraged, and complacency will set in and you will become your own biggest obstacle to success. Your motivation and drive will quickly deteriorate until you are not putting forth the required effort to succeed.
There is another extreme that can work against you. It is located at the opposite end of the spectrum. Instead of half-assing your way through life, you can get caught in the learning and planning stage and never actually begin taking action. This is Analysis Paralysis. Wikipedia has a short explanation here.
The phrase Analysis Paralysis really says it all but the idea breaks down as follows. In everything we do, all of us want to do it right the first time. We want to receive maximum rewards for minimum effort. For that to happen, though, your effort must be efficient.
Analysis Paralysis builds from the need to achieve maximum reward from the performance of the most efficient action.
So, how do you perform the most efficient actions in order to expend the least personal effort?
Before starting a business, building a website or writing a computer program or buying stocks…before doing whatever it is you are going to do there is entry-level knowledge that you must develop.
We’ve all heard the phrase, fake it until you make it.
First of all you’ve got to know what to fake. So you must develop a knowledge base sufficient to get started. And by developing that entry-level knowledge base you are going to fake it while you are making it.
However, this is also where Analysis Paralysis can set in and ruin your plans. When analysis paralysis rears its ugly head you are not able to advance past the due diligence stage. You are stuck reading and studying, studying and reading. No matter how much knowledge is amassed you keep researching because you are afraid you may be missing that one piece of information vital to your success.
Keep the End Goal in Mind
You become absorbed with knowing the process instead of focusing on action and realizing the outcome. Remember, the process is the means to an end….and the end is ultimately the most important.
Analysis Paralysis (AP) is a slippery slope. Just like the American Trap, it is easy to fall into and very hard to escape. I am constantly fighting the pull of AP. The more I study the more I tend to want to study. Curiosity and inquisitiveness are very important qualities but not when they come at the expense of progress.
Balance the Extremes
Therefore, the trick to making the best decisions is to balance the knowledge versus action scale. Picture a school playground where two students of equal size are sitting opposite one another on a teeter-totter. Being of equal size the children cause the plank to balance horizontally to the ground. The considerations given to our decisions should reach the same equilibrium on the knowledge versus action scale.
Remember, dangers reside at each end of the spectrum. You must be meticulous in your decisions so as not to half-ass yourself to death but be very aware of the other extreme.