Analysis Paralysis and Starship Captain Jean Luc Picard

“The act of will consists of six sequential phases or stages. They are:

The Purpose, Aim, or Goal, based on Evaluation, Motivation and Intention.
Choice and Decision.
Affirmation: the Command, or “Fiat,” of the Will.
Planning and Working out a Program.
Direction of the Execution.”

~ Roberto Assagioli (1888 – 1974),
Italian psychologist & founder of Psychosynthesis,
in The Act of Will


Expressing our authenticity sometimes requires making a decision through which our living will be carried forward. Yet not all decisions are obvious. When faced with a decision, occasionally we may get stuck in analysis paralysis – unable to decide between this and that. At such times, Captain Jean Luc Picard, Captain of the starship USS Enterprise (Star Trek: The Next Generation), may point the way out of our predicament.

First, let’s recall the importance of effective decision making for our personal authenticity. With regard to the alternatives from which you choose, you are pure potential. You could choose A or B or C, etc. Your choice transforms you from potentiality to actuality. From a cloud of amorphous possibilities, you come forth into specificity. Moreover an effective choice optimizes your living.

Sometimes analysis paralysis simply is due to not-yet-developed skills of deliberation whereby we skillfully enumerate and evaluate different options. Then analysis paralysis might be resolved simply by applying such formal decision making techniques such as Brainstorming, Decision matrix, and inquiring into the “felt sense” of each option.

However, what if such skillful deliberation fails to reveal an obvious choice? Then let your Captain Picard step forward to take command, and issue a fiat. “Fiat” is Latin for “Let it be done!” Or as Captain Picard so often would command, “Make it so!” The fiat is the command of your personal will. In decision making, the fiat is the affirmation of your will on behalf of a course of action. In acts of will, the fiat is the transition point from deliberation to action, to be followed with planning and execution.

With regard to analysis paralysis, the fiat is your command to choose any option. You determined that your different options were of equal in merit. Choose one, and get on with it!

But many persons may worry, “What if I make a “wrong” decision?” Personally I don’t consider my decisions as “wrong” or “right”. We can make decisions which are more or less painful, but being “pained” is not being wrong. My painful decisions hopefully endow me with a wisdom which allows me to choose differently next time. It is a special wisdom which I only could have gained by my choosing the course of action which others, not I, might consider mistaken.

Are you experiencing analysis paralysis with a decision you’re making? Consider choosing any option, then “make it so!,” and “engage!”


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2 comments to Analysis Paralysis and Starship Captain Jean Luc Picard

  • rick perry

    This morning I was looking at how long it has taken me to get my new website up, so your post came at an interesting time. Mistakes do concern me. I want to get it right. But there is forgiveness out there and so I will set my ego aside and let the world (gulp) be my editor. Thank you. Fiat! Fiat!!

  • […] One of the ways in which we get stuck is analysis paralysis which I have discussed elsewhere (“Analysis Paralysis and the Starship Captain Jean Luc Picard”). Here I want to address the difficulty of being unable to relinquish or let go of […]

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