Baby Steps: Breaking Free from Analysis Paralysis

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by Ryan Berhar |

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Rare Disease Day

2018 was my best year in a long time. I acquired a JACO robotic arm, got more work, and made a little more money. This January also saw a couple positive developments: I spoke at church and began “Ryan’s Robotics” for the SMA News Today YouTube channel. Things seemed to be on the upswing.

Then I hit a brutal stretch. Sure, it’s been bad luck to a certain extent. For example, being sick with pneumonia for a month is not something I had any control over. However, despite my limitations, I can still make progress in certain areas and I’m not satisfied with what I’ve done this year. Life has been stagnant for the past seven months or so, and I’ve recently managed to identify why.

I was viewing things from too much of a macro perspective. Certain objectives — getting more work in order to better provide for myself financially, hiring more caregivers, moving out, and having my own family — can be likened to mountains that I have to climb.

Recently, I’ve spent my time staring at that mountain range, not knowing how to proceed. You might call it analysis paralysis. Climbing a mountain requires a laserlike focus, but mine is easily shaken. I appreciate advice and oftentimes I ask for it, but sometimes a friend or family member will direct my attention to mountain B, when I had been concentrating on mountain A. Then I get overwhelmed by the enormity of it all and give up.

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In “What About Bob?” — one of my favorite movies — Doctor Marvin treats Bob with “baby steps therapy.” The idea was for Bob, a man paralyzed by various phobias, to set small, reasonable goals for himself. This resonates profoundly with him, and his mental state immediately improves. This movie is a comedy, so I never thought too deeply about it. Recently, however, I’ve found comfort in baby steps.

How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time. For now, I’ve resolved to take a baby step forward on a mountain each day, to make some kind of progress, however small it is. I’ve written down a few goals to help keep myself focused. I still don’t know how this all fits together or what to prioritize, but it’s a start. At least I’ve identified the issue and gotten out of the fog.

I plan to expand on this column once I get more clarity. If you identify with this perspective, join me in my journey. It’s more fun and less intimidating when you have company.


Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


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