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Paralysis by Analysis

The Centipede was happy quite,

Until a toad in fun

Said, “Pray which leg goes after which?”

Which worked his mind to such a pitch

He lay disquieted in a ditch

Considering how to run!


Sometimes you just need to act. I read a Jack Nicklaus article in Golf Digest in a doctor’s office, (the only other choice was Redbook). Jack explained several complex components of a great golf swing. He concluded that there was a lot to think about as you addressed the ball. He said finally, “You need to quit analyzing and just hit the ball; otherwise you suffer from ‘paralysis by analysis.’”

We are supposed to plan, research, strategize, and analyze. But many opportunities are lost because we never get the courage to act, and some things cannot be analyzed adequately to reach an irresistible call to action. The fearful can always find ‘reasons’ not to act.

And platitudes do not help resolve the issue of action verses inaction: “Look before you leap!” verses “He who hesitates is lost!” To marry or not to marry, to speak up or stay silent, everyday sometimes in little ways and sometimes in ways that change your life forever, we are faced with opportunities to act or just think about “I” some more and do nothing.

God has promised to give wisdom to those who ask. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” And Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Sometimes God’s leadership defies logic. I do not know if I would have helped Noah build the ark.

But we are promised (Proverbs 3:56) that if we trust God and “do not lean to our own understanding and acknowledge God in all we do, that He will direct our paths.”

There are no answers in this blog. I would encourage you to “build the ark” if you have His direction, even if it defies logic. In many ways building Whitestone Country Inn was a leap of faith, “Would anyone come?” Yet God was gracious in His reassurance and provision. (I only doubted occasionally!)

Plan. Think. Pray. Get good advice. Eventually make a decision. Sometimes to go forward, sometimes to stay where you are, but do not live life with too many regrets about the risks you did not take; the doors you did not go through, the less traveled path not taken that would have made all the difference.

-Paul Cowell