All things are cyclical, and even the most masculine author is not immune to the lazy tendencies of society at large. In a world of virtual EVERYTHING, we often conflate the effort of analyzing a thing with the exertion of building that same thing.
Male space writers, me included at times, would rather wax poetic about the esoteric aspects of what makes a man, rather than give examples of action demonstrating the building of a man. Theory has its allure, because it can be applied in the abstract to our own personal situations. Educated guesses can be made about how people may behave with regard to whatever circumstance a man is addressing. To further buttress this “virtual testing” we simplify (intentionally or unintentionally) factors from the problem that is to be solved by the use of categorization and stereotype. (For example, X situation will react to Y in Z manner.)
Great, a man has discovered the path to Avatar Philosopher and Twitter Titan, and might even fool himself into believing he “gets it.” Knowing isn’t enough. Being smart isn’t enough. Will being good at “fantasy” sports make a man qualified to run the Minnesota Vikings? Does a man enjoy fucking or not? Is it worth the effort to be a coveted man? Why is a man frightened of what a woman will think of him? At some point analysis and procrastination from fear has to end.
Getting Out of Your Head
There are several causes of analysis paralysis and these can affect any man:
People fear making the wrong decision
Often we don’t make a decision because we fear making the wrong one. It can be impossible to work out all the many possible consequences of the choice or strategy to employ, particularly with people. It is impossible to know which decision is best, so we avoid making any decision at all. This can be woefully difficult for linear thinkers who are used to using logic to resolve problems. People are irrational, complex, and prone to rely on emotional cues.
There is too much choice
In our current society, there is a huge amount of choice available. From diets, lifting programs, the shit we buy, and the relationships we foster, our lives are made up of endless choices. Having lots of choices seems like it would be a good thing. However, having many options can actually make it more difficult to choose. It is also the case that we are never quite as happy with the choices we make, because we are always wondering if a different choice would have been better.
Every fucking guy who married his High School sweetheart ends up drunkenly confessing about not having sowed his oats. This combination of “Paradox of Choice” and “Fear of Missing Out” is common.
There is too much information
For each choice we make, there are vast amounts of information available. Take the example of eating healthily. A man will be able to find thousands of books, academic papers, websites and TV programs about this subject. It would be impossible to read or watch all of these resources. Even if we did, many of them are conflicting. Some tell us not to eat fat, some say avoid bread, while others suggest we eliminate meat or dairy.
A dude looking for relationship advice likes to find a conclusive answer before he makes ANY decision and this simply isn’t possible in the information age. Sometimes “perfect” can get in the way when “good enough” will do in a crisis.
Lack of focus
Some of you fuckers have undiagnosed adult ADHD. Added to this, the incredible amount of options for our lives can also make it more difficult to focus. We can see so many people doing so many different things with their Instagram lives and we want to do them all too. However, spreading ourselves too thin can mean that we do not do our best at any one thing. With the constant distractions of porn, social media, and other people, we can find it hard to focus on what is really important to us.
Trying to do too much at once
As a result of our lack of focus, we often try to do too much. Multitasking sucks, and study after study demonstrates that it does nothing to increase productivity or results. In addition, we only have the mental and physical energy to make a certain number of large decisions every day. As our energy is consumed, decision making becomes harder and harder. We begin to make less well-informed decisions and this can affect our productivity and creativity. This is why I implore men to initiate sex when they feel up to having sex. A man has the energy to do it right, and if rejected, can move on to do something productive with his time.
Overthinking can lead to being less productive and less creative. It can also lower cognitive function, exhaust willpower and undermine happiness. Getting stuck in one’s head will beat a man down.
Ultimately, if intelligence gets in the way of taking concrete action, it can lead to eventual failure, rather than success. This is why so many outwardly successful men are miserable. They don’t act, react poorly to the smallest of failures, and don’t persevere.
Tips to Act
Identifying why men overthink things to the point of catatonia, I should probably provide some actionable advice, or I become part of the problem:
Prioritize your actions
We have a limited capacity to make decisions. So to be most effective, men need to prioritize the most important ones. Making a man his mental point of origin will simplify this greatly. If a decision is a needless sacrifice, it’s probably a bad decision. This is why successful people develop a routine and don’t suffer the bullshit of others. To “not give a fuck” is not a call to be callous, it is a call to prioritize what is important and disregard the rest (or find it absurd).
Take important action when you are freshest
We have a limited ability to make effective decisions, so it is worth making important ones when we have the most energy. We have all experienced the situation where we struggle through work even when we are tired. We make mistakes, and get clumsy. This is not the time to make important decisions. Most people are better at making decisions early in the day, before their limited amount of mental energy and willpower runs out. Initiate sex earlier. Take time to rest and recover.
Limit time searching for further information
When a man has a decision to make, decide how much time will be spent researching it. Choosing a toaster has fewer consequences than choosing divorce. Deciding where to go on vacation is less important than choosing a place to live. Work out the worst-case consequences of the decision and allocate a reasonable amount of time to make a choice. If a man can’t act in a meaningful way, he should minimize the damage that could be done by keeping his fucking mouth shut.
There is a plethora of information available on any subject. Choose a few reliable sources and learn on your own time. Set a time limit, do the research and then make the choice. I’ve seen men’s divorce research last many, many months. Law school only lasts six semesters, and your research won’t result in a diploma or job. Hire an expert in the event you need help. It doesn’t make you less of a man, it shows you value your time.
Some necessary action is admittedly reflexive or close to instantaneous. This is where good practice and repetition come into play. This is why there is a need for useful strategies for men having trouble expressing their wants in life. (1) Observe those around you; (2) sort and recognize emotional speech; and (3) use proactive, overt expressions of boundaries and desires (meaningful speaking used to say what a man wants and deserves). The fact that male spaces need “training wheels” to get men to talk to women as though their own lives have value, is both sad and illustrative. Men are generally poor advocates for their own sexual and vocational desires.
Be clear about your objectives
What the fuck do you want? A man can’t make an effective decision unless he is clear on his desired outcome. Also keep in mind that a man’s desired outcome might change, which requires a change in course. Before he begins any research, he needs to think about what it is he truly desires from the decision. This will help a man to focus on the most pertinent information he needs to make that decision.
The more vague a man makes his objectives, the less obtainable they will be, and also the less likely a man will be to act to achieve success.
A wish is not a plan.
It’s easy to retreat into the comfort of theory when life is unpredictable. In order to get the most value from his natural talents, a man needs to step away from academia and into the arena. Above all else, this requires knowing what he wants.