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Thread: Theory vs application, overcoming analysis paralysis?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array ObliviousExistence's Avatar
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    Sep 2009

    Default Theory vs application, overcoming analysis paralysis?

    for those who don't know what it is Analysis paralysis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia .

    I assume this is common among INTX types, the fear of not knowing enough, the fear of not being prepared enough and the need for extended analysis which usually leads in totally loosing sense of practicality\simplicity and sometimes an irrational mental block to dealing with new unfamiliar situations where it would perhaps have been quicker or better to have gone in head first and "learned" or "corrected" ones approach through a series of errors and lessons learned through correcting those errors.

    How do you deal with this fear of not knowing enough, or the need to approach everything from a body of accumulated knowledge or in a systematical way?

    I think a better title would have been, learning though aquiring theoretical understanding vs learning through immersion and trial and error.

  2. #2


    I see this more as problem of people with Type 5 enneagram.

    If your "analysis" is mainly being driven by fear of being overwhelmed, you may actually not be analyzing anything.

    The way to get out of this is to observe, experiment, and engaging in fruitful analysis.

    What is the difference between fruitful analysis and the type that leads to paralysis?

    Well, I would say the biggest indicator is if you are having fun doing the analysis or not. If worry is driving your analysis, you need to force yourself to make observations and experiments, in this case.

    Another rule of thumb, is to model the situation using the simplest model that could work, and then double check that the insights do not change with a one level deeper model. After that it is time to apply and test your understanding in controlled ways. This process is simultaneously prudent and gives the analysis some purpose.

    The hard part is actually realizing that you are paralyzed and driven by worry.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array Misty_Mountain_Rose's Avatar
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    Jul 2008


    Enneagram types may have something to do with it... I'm a 4 and I find myself getting 'sick and tired' of the mental loops that I get into and so I'll break out of it with a dramatic (and sometimes badly timed) decision to do something about it.

    I have heard over and over in my head though 'If you don't know what to do next, wait until it happens'... which I suppose leads to its own kind of gridlock. A lot of things seem to work themselves out though without direct interaction. In this, I'm mainly speaking of 'people interactions' though and not say, planning a project. When it comes to actually creating something, I'm pretty good at planning and implementing.
    Embrace the possibilities.

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