The 7-Step Antidote to Cure the Silent Wealth-Killer Known as Analysis Paralysis

by | BiggerPockets.com

How long have you been “thinking” about purchasing that first property? About sending that first direct mail campaign? About calling friends, family, or other non-institutional lenders to help you fund your next deal?

If your answer is between “six months” and “too long,” you are suffering from the silent killer we like to call analysis paralysis.

It is no secret that the victims of this terrible “disease” are newbies. This article is designed to remedy this plague that has struck many wannabe real estate investors, to help turn the wannabe investors to experienced investors.

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The Cure

Close your eyes and think back to your proudest moment, your biggest achievement. Where were you? What were you doing? Why were you so proud?

I recently polled a group of people and asked this exact question. Here are a few of the answers I received:

  1. Successfully growing three profitable businesses
  2. Writing a book and being on Amazon’s bestseller list
  3. Running a marathon

What is the commonality here? Hard work? Determination? Perseverance? Absolutely! How about the ONE underlying feeling each person had while pursuing these goals? You guessed it. Discomfort.

It takes many sleepless nights, denying weekend plans with friends, and hours of tireless work to grow three business. Sound comforting? I don’t think so.

How about writing a book? This now-author had never written a book before. Even after he wrote the book, he had to sell it. He could be the best author in the world, but if he couldn’t sell the book, it would be useless. Have you ever heard of a “best-writing” author? Selling and self-promotion made this person extremely uncomfortable. Guess what? He did it and is reaping the benefits now.

Related: 5 Signs of the Dreaded Analysis Paralysis

How about my friend who is a marathon runner? He wakes up before the crack of dawn every day (even on weekends) to train. At first, he ran five miles. He gradually worked his way up to 20+ before successfully completing the full 26.2 miles. Do waking up early, shin splints, broken toenails, irritated nipples, and aching knees sound comforting? Of course not!

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Obtaining the Antidote

So my question is this: If it seems that an individual’s biggest accomplishments are directly correlated with discomfort, why don’t people actively seek ways to experience discomfort every day?

Simple—it’s human nature. Think about a toddler’s first day of Kindergarten. What do they do when their parents leave for the first time? Many cry uncontrollably. In fact, most cry until they become comfortable with this new environment. Now this once uncomfortable place called “school” is now very comforting, and many toddlers have few problems attending every day.

Think about the last time you felt uncomfortable. Maybe it your last job interview? Your first day at a new job? Now imagine if you let the nerves get the best of you, and you chose not to show up. You would likely be without a job, sitting at home in your mom’s basement playing Starcraft.

My point is this:

Growth begins at the end of your comfort zone.

To cure yourself of analysis paralysis, you simply need to take that first uncomfortable step. What is that step? It differs for everyone, but here are a few examples as it pertains to real estate investing:

  1. Take control of your personal finances. Find ways to earn more and spend less.
  2. Start relationships with 5-7 lenders. Get prequalified so you know what you can afford.
  3. Go to biggerpockets.com/meet. Introduce yourself and invite local real estate investors to lunch or coffee.
  4. Employ a real estate agent. Ask them to send you an automatic email of properties on the MLS that match your criteria.

Do these things above scare the living bejesus out of you? If so, follow the steps below to ease your way in:

Step 1: Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Find small ways to seek discomfort every day. Some examples include eating something unusual, cooking something new, listening to a different genre of music, shutting off the TV, reading a book, going a full day without checking social media, or taking a different route to work. My personal favorite is to turn the water cold before shutting off the shower and to stand beneath it for as long as I can, but for at least 10 seconds (not recommended if you have heart issues).

Step 2: Recognize what your next uncomfortable step is.

Don’t let your ego get the best of you here. Recognize and write down a few things that you are uncomfortable doing. Perhaps it is one of the four recommendations I mentioned above.

I am sure there are thousands of things that make you feel uncomfortable. Whatever it is, write it down, and promise yourself to start doing it. If you can’t keep a promise to yourself, how are you supposed to keep promises to anyone else?

Step 3: Visualize yourself succeeding.

Close your eyes for five minutes every day and envision yourself doing what makes you feel uncomfortable. Envision yourself succeeding at it. Picture yourself masterfully managing your finances, getting prequalified for your first property, shaking hands with your future business partner. Close your eyes. See it. Believe it. Achieve it!

Step 4: Embrace the failure.

Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school basketball team. Albert Einstein could not speak and could not read until he was seven years old. Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” There are countless stories of highly successful people failing miserably at the start. What did they do? They embraced their failure and used it as motivation to keep going.

Guess what? They are no different than you. Embrace any failure you may have as “growing pains” and push through. Have you ever heard about that guy who quit? I know I haven’t. Think to yourself that there is nothing in life to fear or worry about because you cannot fail, only learn and grow.

Step 5: Surround yourself with like-minded individuals.

As Jim Rohn says, “You are the average of the five people you associate with the most.” Spend time with video-gamers, and you’ll be a video-gamer. Spend time with potheads, and you’ll be a pothead. Surround yourself with successful people who are completely immune to analysis paralysis, and you will soon be the same.

Step 6: Recognize your improvements.

Before you realize it, you will start to see noticeable improvements. Write these improvements down. Maybe you set up an account on Mint or Personal Capital. Maybe you called one or two lenders and understood what you need to get prequalified. Or perhaps you sent private messages to 5-10 local BiggerPockets members asking to grab coffee. This will serve as further motivation to keep going. It will transform previously uncomfortable situations into comfortable ones. As you realize these improvements, you will consistently crave that feeling of discomfort, doing away with analysis paralysis.

Step 7: Rinse and repeat.

Do not let the buck stop here. You got the ball rolling. You have started to network and build a team. Go through these same progressions as you start to offer on properties, as you schedule showings and screen for prospective tenants, as you begin to take action on creative ways to finance deals.

Related: The Ultimate 60-Day Action Plan for the Paralyzed Newbie Longing for a First Deal

These steps apply to aspects of your life beyond real estate investing. In fact, I would argue that feeling uncomfortable is an obstacle between you and the majority of your goals—goals you have in your day job, in your fitness/dieting routine, in your relationships.

perseverance

Conclusion

Now that you understand that discomfort is the antidote for analysis paralysis, you understand that rather than trying to avoid discomfort, you should seek and embrace it. How are you going to obtain it? What is on your list of short-term goals? Where are you stuck? What is your next uncomfortable step? Whatever it is, write it down.

In fact, write it in the comments section below. Is that uncomfortable for you? If yes, it’s a great place to start! If not, I’m looking forward to seeing what your areas of discomfort are. Writing below will hold you accountable AND will give the other readers ideas of seeking discomfort.

Here is my list that I started a couple of months ago:

  1. Submit offers for multifamily properties in Denver. I have submitted my first offer, and believe it or not, it was accepted. We are under contract right now, and it is set to close in the next couple of weeks.
  2. I do not drink coffee or tea in the morning. However, I still reach out and ask to “grab coffee” with five local real estate investors weekly. While they sip coffee, I sip on my water. This I am now fully comfortable doing.
  3. Attend 1-2 networking events monthly, exchanging information, and following up with at least five people at each.
  4. Start writing for the BiggerPockets Blog. Writing has always been my biggest weakness. I recognized the only way to improve is to continue doing it. I’m still not totally comfortable with this.
  5. Complete Crossfit workouts at 100% of men’s prescribed weight with good form. I am not comfortable doing this. Currently, I do between 80% and 90% of the prescribed men’s weight.
  6. Drink zero alcohol and eat zero added sugar without sacrificing my social life. This is the hardest one, and I am certainly not comfortable here yet. It is difficult going out to a bar or an event and denying all drinks—though I have kept my promise, and it has gotten easier.
  7. Finally, announcing all of my areas of discomfort to the public is not comforting!

Are you suffering from analysis paralysis? What will YOU do to get out of your comfort zone this week?

Don’t be shy. Leave a comment below!

About Author

Craig Curelop

After developing a huge love for real estate investing and personal finance, Craig decided to join the BiggerPockets team as a financial analyst. Over the past few years, he has looked at hundreds of financial models of startup companies. His experience will help BiggerPockets reach the next level as a startup company. Craig has a passion for helping others get out of their "comfort zones" to get what they want and achieve the "impossible." In his spare time, Craig enjoys traveling, hiking, exercising, and sports of all kinds.

37 Comments

  1. Jacqueline Mann

    I never had the problem of paralysis of analysis, but I’ve met so many people who do. I hope this post gets into all the right hands to help people who struggle with this issue.

    What helped me get started were mental statements and reasoning with myself. I said, “Other people say they just went out there and bought their first property and learned as they went. Why not me? If they can do it, I can, too.” Then I went and bought my first property. and learned as I went. I mean, I actively read books and talked to people, but learning WHILE investing is so much more beneficial and exciting than trying to learn it all BEFORE you invest.

    • Craig Curelop

      Hi Jacqueline,

      Congratulations on never suffering from paralysis by analysis. I completely agree with you! Mentally convincing yourself you can do it is 90% of the battle. Of course, educating as you go is even more advisable so you don’t fall into the same traps everyone else falls into.

  2. Cory Panak

    I am uncomfortable asking my family to go in on a deal with me. We have passed up putting offers on some deals to try and save the capital ourselves.

    I am also uncomfortable putting this to the public.

    The ironic part about this this is I do data analysis to make decisions everyday at work.

    The ego you mentioned is where I am holding myself back. Now that I wrote this I see how writing it down helps. It seems silly now.

    Gotta make a phone call. Good article.

  3. Sandra Draffin

    A family member passed away and I inherited the house. Instead of selling, I decided to rent it. My first tenants moved in June first. I know I have some equity I could utilize but am apprehensive about jumping in and investing in another rental so soon. How long should I wait? Should I start scouting out properties now or wait to see how this rental pans out? Any suggestions and advice would greatly be appreciated.

    • Craig Curelop

      Hi Sandra,

      It sounds like you made the first uncomfortable step in renting it out rather than selling it. Congratulations!

      Your next step which seems to be uncomfortable for you is to take the equity out and purchase the next one. I would recommend calling some lenders now and telling them what you plan to do while simultaneously educating yourself on rental property investing. I highly recommend, “The Book on Rental Property Investing” by Brandon Turner. Also – be sure to listen to the BiggerPockets podcasts!

      • Dumitru Anton

        Can I also recommend Ben’s PIG’s threads (against investing in sub 30k houses).
        Also they are a couple threads about successfully investing in sub30k houses.

        @Sandra Draffin, learn what your area have, wants and needs!

  4. Brad S Hoffman

    Hi Craig this is Brad.I tried to post a comment but i don’t think it went threw. I’m trying to start to invest in to real estate but i was recently laid-off from my regular job. So i decided to try to start a company but the person that was going to help me, who is an investor,does not return my phone calls. I did purchase a course, but to be honest with you, i think i have gotten more information off of the bigger pockets web site then with the course. I do understand what you mean about our comfort zone,( i read the book REACH which just came out this year) but i don’t know of anybody around here who is doing what i want to do nor do i have the money or credit to start. I know it sounds like i’m being negative but i really am a person who looks at things in a positive way. I have been wanting to start this business for over 20 years but just never had the chance to do it. ( i have a wife and three kids and a mortgage) So i’m trying to find someone who has already done this. If you have any suggestions, that would be great. my strongest point (i think) is that i don’t give up, which could be a issue as well. Thanks for your time. By the way this is my first time doing a comment. VERY very uncomfortable for me. Thanks again.

    • Craig Curelop

      Hey Brad,

      Thanks for leaving your first comment! I am going to be expecting more and more from you now that you are one step closer to getting comfortable posting :).

      I am not entirely sure what your business is, but if it is real estate related, I highly recommend you go to https://www.biggerpockets.com/meet and take some investors in your community out to coffee. Talk with them and tell them what you want to do. It’s a game of numbers. The more people you meet, the more likely you will find your future business partner.

      Not only that, but just tell everyone what you want to do. People love using their networks to help others out. You might meet someone who knows someone who knows someone that can help you out…. just spread the word!

  5. Dumitru Anton

    OK, here’s the short version:
    Don’t be part of the sheep herd.
    Just start working to realize what you have been thinking differently your whole life….
    Like Michael Jackson said: “Man in the mirror”
    Even if you are not a genius, you will be the hardest worker on what you want to achieve!

    Cold shower tip: start the shower with…. cold water. I recommend a DEEP breath before that 😛 (really useful in places with snow)

    …and drink zero alcohol:…. it’s called have an opaque drinking container with liquid inside mimicking alcoholic beverage color…. AKA some juice….

  6. Jessica Hawkins

    I loved the article. I am very cautious by nature so fall into analysis paralysis very easily. It is funny that I almost passed up my first deal had it not been a family member who pushed me over the edge into jumping on it. Now the tables are flipped and I am the one dragging others out of their comfort zone on occasion.

    It was funny how you brought up the zero alcohol, zero added sugar thing. I have recently been noticing how “socially” tied drinking and sugar are. Donuts are everywhere, the official way to appreciate staff by bosses and a staple item at most company meetings. The same with alcohol outside of the workplace, there is “going to grab a drink” in almost every social invitation. Good luck conquering this uphill battle! You have already done it with tea and coffee in the morning, way to go!

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks, Jessica! I am glad you liked the article.

      Awesome for pushing past analysis paralysis and getting that first deal done!

      Also – totally agree with the whole sugar and alcohol correlating with social activities. It’s tough, but definitely doable. It also gets much easier as you do it. At this point, when I tell people I don’t drink anymore, they don’t usually pressure me too much.

  7. Right now in Coastal LA where I am looking there are no deals like there were 5 years ago, not even close. There is a time to buy and a time to hold or even sell. Right now, it’s not the time to buy. Real Estate requires patience and in due time the imprudent people who just had to buy something NOW, because they heard of all the people who are making a killing, will lose their shirts. And then I will again be a buyer.

  8. Lori Schaffer

    I really appreciated your words here. I tend to be over analytical, so it was especially useful to me. I also REALLY appreciated your suggesting that not consuming coffee/alcohol/sugar was a good thing. I don’t do any of that. They are all drugs, and wreak havoc on one’s health.

  9. Ben Pohle

    Thoroughly enjoyed the article, Craig!

    This idea of doing what makes you feel uncomfortable is definitely linked to Stoicism. Just finished a book called “The Obstacle is the Way” and it talks about this concept and how some of the most successful people in history all the way from Marcus Aurelius to Ben Franklin learned to enjoy the hardships and struggles, as opposed to letting it cripple them.

    -I am uncomfortable with public speaking and plan on signing up for a local toastmasters group next week in PHX

    -currently in analysis paralysis phase of RE investing too. I will utilize the BP meet section – thanks for the suggestion!

    • Craig Curelop

      Thank you, Ben! I am glad you enjoyed the article!

      Double thank you for sharing what you feel uncomfortable doing. Public speaking was a HUGE fear of mine as well. Because of this, a few friends and I actually started a Toastmasters Club at Northeastern University (my undergrad school). It’s an incredible organization that really does improve your confidence in speaking not only in front of people, but in interviews, at networking events, etc. Best of luck!

  10. Laura Sendldorfer

    Wow great read. I come from a family that hides their money under the mattress or goes to a financial advisor to invest a tiny bit of what is under the mattress. We always lived in big cities and rented, so for me that was what I thought I’d be doing. I met my husband who owned a house but had very poor personal finances, we took care of those and paid all depts off. ( If you are struggling with personal finances or want to be even better check out Scott Alan Turner’s podcast- it’s amazing and helped me a lot!) Long story short we have been saving and want to invest in long term rentals, yet for me it never seems like we saved enough. My biggest fear is risking our personal financial freedom. I am super proud how my husband has changed in his personal finances and how much he educates himself and networks to get out realestate investing started, the last thing I want to be is in his way but yet it feels very uncomfortable. I am 25 in my opinion it wouldn’t hurt to save for 6 more month to be able to be in a position where it wouldn’t hurt our personal finances -aka we still have an 6 month emergency fund and all that. Sorry that this was so long, I’ll have to work on my writing skills!

    • Craig Curelop

      Hey Laura,

      Thanks for the note! I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I will be sure to check out Scott Alan’s Turner’s podcast. I’ve been looking for new ones to add to my queue.

      Saving and investing in long term rentals is a phenomenal idea and it’s great that this idea has dawned at you at the ripe age of 25. You’ve got plenty of time, but it’s always best to start early!

      Give Scott Trench’s book, “Set For Life” a read. He talks about different ways to save money and invest wisely to achieve early financial freedom.

      Keep writing! That’s the only way to improve 🙂

  11. Casey Wohl

    Thank you for the inspirational article. My problem with Analysis Paralysis is that I am extremely analytical. I’m not a gambler and I hate to lose, especially money. I want to understand the various aspect of REI before jumping in so I’m reading everything I can, listening to the podcasts, and reading the blogs. Your suggestion on networking is a great way for me to get comfortable investing at a much faster pace.

    Thank you for writing this and I look forward to my first investment.

    • Craig Curelop

      Hi Casey,

      Thank you for the note. I’m glad the article could help. I highly recommend surrounding yourself with people who do it and networking as much as possible. You’d be surprised as to how many people are willing to help out (look at BP for instance).

      That’s not to say you should stop reading and learning along the way. I’m a big advocate for learning and researching as you do. This allows you to apply concepts you learn while reading into real life. Otherwise, it’s likely you’ll forget what you read a month later (that’s how I am at least).

  12. Selam T.

    First off I’d like to say great article Craig! As someone who has not a single clue about investing I am completely out of my element and your article has provided some great insight. I am someone who is uncomfortable reaching out to people and asking for help, especially people I don’t know. I’ve always been someone who likes everything to be perfect so I tend to try to do everything myself. I am now realizing this approach is impractical and is actually slowing down my process. I also have difficulty putting myself out there but I am now willing to break out of my comfort zone with the first step being leaving this comment!

    My goal is to spend this time getting my personal finances in order while also learning as much as I can about real estate investing so when I can be prepared when I am ready to buy my first property.

    Thanks for the article and I look forward to seeing what the future holds! 🙂

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks, Selam! I am really glad that this article helped you out. Great job leaving your first comment… I know that’s not easy. It only gets easier though.

      Never be afraid to ask someone for help or advice. I would guess that 99% of the time, they will help or introduce you to someone who can. Or… they say no and you never talk to them again. There’s really nothing to lose.

      Keep reading and engaging here on BiggerPockets! Listen to the Podcasts, attend the webinars, and READ! You’ll be there before you know it!

      • Esther Sanon

        Thanks for a Great article Craig. I have been reading the Blog but never comment. Thanks for helping me taking the first step. I have been entertaining REI for a while but now I am determined to take action. I live in the New York City area and I want to start investing in the TriState area. For now, I am educating myself while I get my finances in order. My next action step is to reach out to biggerpockets.com/meet and take some investors in my community out to coffee/tea/water. I will certainly try the cold shower tip.

        • Craig Curelop

          Hi Esther,

          Thanks for reading and good job on taking that first step and commenting! It’s not easy, but once you get past that initial hump, it only gets easier. NYC is a tough market to invest in, but I’m sure you can find somewhere in upstate NY, CT, or NJ that meets your criteria. I recommend you listen to the podcasts, read the books, interact on the forums, and meet new people to gain the most knowledge. I’m looking forward to seeing what you can do!

  13. Thomas Baran

    Thanks for the article Craig – I really enjoyed it and find it useful for many things outside of just real estate, as you mentioned. Congratulations on giving up alcohol. I did the same two and a half years ago and am very happy of both the social and health changes that it brought, even though it was hard at times.

    I’m uncomfortable with:

    1. Writing this comment (first one!)
    2. Asking family for private funding
    3. Inquiring about financing from banks

    I’m currently living in the Dominican Republic looking for my first deal (all in Spanish), so things are a bit more complicated. I know that I can succeed though! Thanks again for the tips 🙂

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