Are you familiar with the concept of “analysis paralysis?” It essentially means decisions and actions are delayed or never occur because the situation is too complicated or over-analyzed and the choices seem infinite. The search for perfection is often a factor. We all know perfection, aside from ice cream on a warm summer night, never happens. Yet we still strive for it. But when we are bombarded with too much data, when it is relentless and unyielding, it is nearly impossible to process any of it in a meaningful way. Our perception of what is truly important is distorted because everything seems important and, more alarmingly, equal. We find ourselves lost in the menacing Overload Desert without a camel or guide. We give up or shut down, then hope an easy solution will magically appear. Well, most good solutions are not easy, magic, or perfect.
This phenomenon was once largely restricted to small groups and individuals. Not anymore. Thanks to a constant barrage every minute of every day from every direction, excessive and paralyzing input has become a huge societal problem. Sure, some of the information is good. Thoughtful, informed, factual. But most is garbage, clumpy blobs of random thought with no coherent core, a tenuous association with the truth, and usually accompanied by a meme. When you consider the enormity of this daily shitstorm it becomes exhausting to sift the gold from the muck. That would be okay if most popular opinion didn’t surf on this amorphous tidal wave. But it does.
We have always been a susceptible species, entranced by shiny objects. It is no different with information. The sludge is generally pretty easy to detect, but not always. It can take hard work to distinguish real gold from fool’s gold while also keeping that overwhelming paralysis at bay. But it is important work, assuming you want to progress and make informed choices.
When critical decisions with many competing voices come before you, don’t let complexity cripple you. Don’t let analysis paralysis drag you down. Dig in and open up. Seek out multiple perspectives, especially those with which you are inclined to disagree. Look critically at the things you tend to favor. Try to gain a nuanced understanding of what is actually happening, like in an election. The tsunami of muck wants to engulf you and most certainly will if you are content to let it. Just remember that once buried in the muck it is difficult to get out.