Recently, I was interviewing Paul Hartunian, the master of free publicity, who successfully juggles several very different careers. Paul commented:
People don’t act because a lot of things are in front of them.
I’ve gone to lots of seminars where there was so much information you were on information overload. The vast majority of people then froze; they wound up doing nothing.
All this information and all these experts were right there, willing to help the seminar participants do what they want to do, accomplish what they want to accomplish.
They may have been given lots of great products to sell; they were given SO MANY options in that one day that they froze.
Paul’s point was that when we’re confronted by too many possibilities, we can freeze up.
Trying to decide which of 15 or 20 options to pursue can be frustrating, especially if all of them appear to be good choices.
My granddaddy used to say, “A dog that chases two rabbits won’t catch either one.” He’d pause for a second, then add, “And he’ll go hungry tonight.” He was trying to get me to realize how important it is to just pick one thing and do it.
Let’s take an example that we often see here on the Internet. How many eBooks have you bought within the last six months? Of that number, how many of them tell you how to do marketing or to make money online?
If a book is any good, you’ll be impressed; you’ll say, “Yeah, I can do this.” But then, after a few days, you’ll read another really great sales letter, you’ll feel that you really, really need the knowledge in this new offering. Then you’ll buy yet another eBook, and you’ll again be impressed: “Yeah, I can REALLY do THIS.’
This cycle is being repeated over and over every day all around the Internet.
This may have happened to you. I’ve done it. Lots of people have.
So there you sit with perhaps dozens of books, all good, dozens or even hundreds of affiliate offerings, some excellent, and page after page of website ideas, all interesting.
In fact, you’ve got so many options that you may not know what to do first.
My granddaddy ran one of the biggest plumbing shops in his town, and when he’d spy one of his men dithering over what to do next, he’d simply say, “Son, you can’t do everything first.”
And neither can you or I. If all your options are good, then it doesn’t really matter which one you choose first. Throw a dart if you have to, but move. Make a decision. Get yourself into motion.
For many people, getting into motion means you’ll be stepping into unfamiliar territory, doing things you’ve never done before. So what? At least it’s interesting and exciting. But never terrifying.
If you think starting your very first business is terrifying, you need to think again.
Wrestling a grizzly bear is terrifying. Falling from an airplane without a parachute is terrifying.
But starting a business? Nah… that’s not scary; it’s just unfamiliar.
And right there we have the main reason most people lock up when they face a long list of options. It’s unfamiliar ground, so they think they don’t know how to choose. (They do, but they THINK they don’t.)
Here’s a strategy for taking the terror out of decision-making. Take that long list of options. Say there are 15 items on it, and you’ve never done any of them before.
Once you’ve examined all the items on the list, do this: Decide if all the items are REALLY about equal. If there are any that clearly don’t measure up, cross those off. You’ll still be left with lots of choices.
Let’s say you’re left with only 10 items on your list.
Take out a new sheet of paper.
Write item number one on it, the first item from your original list.
Okay, that’s it. That’s your new list of options – just one item.
We’ve already agreed that all the choices are more or less equal.
So now you’ve got your action agenda. One item. No more indecision.
Now just go do it.
And those other 9 items? They’ll be there waiting when you get done with the first task.
See how easy decision-making can be?