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Do you over analyze things?
Old 05-29-2012, 09:43 PM   #1
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Do you over analyze things?

One thing we seem to do here is frequently run an analysis on our financial situation to make sure things are running as planned. I suspect that many of us lean in the direction and tools like FireCalc make it easy and conventient to do.

But, do you find yourself over analyzing things in other parts of your life? Expecially those parts of life that aren't 'data driven' like relationships, wants and desires?
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:48 PM   #2
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Nope. In my old age, I have come to realize that most details don't matter any more.
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
One thing we seem to do here is frequently run an analysis on our financial situation to make sure things are running as planned. I suspect that many of us lean in the direction and tools like FireCalc make it easy and conventient to do.
Yes, I *do* beat my financial spreadsheets to death. I question everything, run scenarios, and so on. I like to do this for some reason.

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But, do you find yourself over analyzing things in other parts of your life? Expecially those parts of life that aren't 'data driven' like relationships, wants and desires?
I don't think I do.

As you point out, relationships aren't numerical or data driven processes. They are emotional. When both members of a couple are happy and feel loved and fulfilled, there isn't much point in changing anything. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" as the saying goes.

As for wants and desires, I don't overanalyse them but instead I work on introspection and self knowledge through my own form of meditation. Again, this is not overt fussiness and analysis but simply relaxing and focusing on getting to know myself and what I want.
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:55 PM   #4
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Yes. No.
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:59 PM   #5
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No and no. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:00 PM   #6
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I'm not sure. Let me do a little analysis and I'll get back to you.
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:01 PM   #7
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Sometimes, usually when faced with too many choices. Analysis paralysis is a well documented issue:

Analysis paralysis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:35 PM   #8
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
One thing we seem to do here is frequently run an analysis on our financial situation to make sure things are running as planned. I suspect that many of us lean in the direction and tools like FireCalc make it easy and conventient to do.

But, do you find yourself over analyzing things in other parts of your life? Expecially those parts of life that aren't 'data driven' like relationships, wants and desires?
There are more people on this forum that tend to share certain personality traits (including overanalyzing things, whether finance or not), compared to the population as a whole. While it's certainly not required to reach FI, it can help more than it can hurt it. As such, if you were to poll 10,000 people at large and ask them about overanalyzing things (financial or otherwise), you'll get a much smaller % compared to asking the same question of this forum's members.

Because it's second nature, people like us that ("over")analyze things don't really consider it excessive - we merely view it as analyzing things, period. To the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, average person that splurges on their every whim, our depth of analysis (or, perhaps, ANY level of analysis) would drive them crazy, be it boring, information overload, or simply over their head and impossible for them to understand.

When the OP talks about analyzing relationships (for example), they aren't referring to doing a 'numerical analysis', but (I believe) getting down to the basic human traits/habits/personalities that drive people to act the way they do; to understand and predict what causes certain people to act in certain ways (for example).

Or analyzing which watermelon is the sweetest at the produce stand, etc.

Or perhaps the OP is simply referring to analysis paralysis. In which case, my own excessive analysis of their post on overanalysis is sufficient to diagnose me of a similar condition.
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:48 PM   #10
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Ummm..let me think about this for awhile

Seriously, when I was younger, I used to ponder things over a lot. Now I do when I really have to, but sometimes instinct or the easy way out (hint hint ... index funds ) is better for me than all the analysis.

Yet, for very important decision, I do the old paper and pencil method and list out pros vs cons.
However, my "final answer" as they say, is hopefully based on pros vs cons and a talk to my heart of hearts.

Ah...the questions brings back memories of old Star Trek episodes of Kirk playing chess vs Spock and how come Spock could never beat Kirk.
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
One thing we seem to do here is frequently run an analysis on our financial situation to make sure things are running as planned. I suspect that many of us lean in the direction and tools like FireCalc make it easy and conventient to do.

But, do you find yourself over analyzing things in other parts of your life? Expecially those parts of life that aren't 'data driven' like relationships, wants and desires?
Relationships, that was the analysis some decades back that got DW her current assignment . Wants & desires, you should see how my spending spreadsheet has evolved in ER. Now I kind of know our base spending rate and prioritize the money oriented wants and desires.

I love to analyze things. ER is great for this.
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:02 AM   #12
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Yes, I think I do.

That is the short answer. But to analyze it a bit....

I like analyzing things (which given my profession is probably a good thing - I am an attorney and I think that profession is more likely to be populated by people who like to analyze things). But I think there are individual differences. My DH and I get along well but one area where we are different is that he thinks I analyze things to death. I, on the other hand, thinks he makes snap decisions without thinking things through.

In truth, there is something to be said for both of us. Sometimes I think I make better decisions because of analyzing things and considering all the factors. Often when I bring up factors DH hasn't thought of, he will change his initial view. On the other hand, some things can't be easily decided based upon analysis and the attempt to analyze can give you the false idea that there is more certainty available than is really available. It can also make you think that there is one optimal, logical answer when there really isn't one. And you can just paralyzed when there is no easy choice.

The other thing is that I realize that I like analyzing things. I like chewing them over and speculating and wondering about all kinds of things. DH thinks that is a huge waste of time. So, for him, some analyzing that I do more for entertainment is just baffling to him while for me it is fun....
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:03 AM   #13
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But, do you find yourself over analyzing things in other parts of your life? Expecially those parts of life that aren't 'data driven' like relationships, wants and desires?
Define "over"analyzing...

But seriously, ER gives me an opportunity to do a more thorough job on things that interest me. I would not have had the time or energy to go for a 2nd dan black belt, or to spend so much time surfing (and learning about surfing), or to read so much non-fiction.

I'd call it a detailed survey with sporadic deep dives.
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:12 AM   #14
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I think the analyzing -- or over analyzing -- preference may also be tied to whether one is a satisficer or maximizer.

Are you a satisficer or a maximizer? The Happiness Project

A maximizer tries to make the one, optimal choice. A satisficer stops once you find a choice that meets your criteria. You don't keep looking to see if there is a another choices that you meet your criteria plus be even better.

So -- for me -- looking for a car I had a huge spreadsheet of choices. Some criteria was absolute essential and I knocked out cars that didn't meet the criteria. But of the ones that met the criteria I spent a lot of effort deciding which of those cars was the best and agonized over relatively minor criteria to find out which of two cars that met my overall criteria was best. I am a clear maximizer. I also look for what is most optimal. To determine that I often do a lot of over-analysis.

DH, on the other hand, is a born satisficer. He sets his criteria and when he finds something that meets it -- he's done. He doesn't worry about the possibility that there is something out there that would also meet his criteria -- but be better.

I think that satisficers are actually happier people since they are more likely to be satisfied while maximizers are much more likely to be disappointed. On the other hand, I haven't found a way to convert myself to being a satisficer.
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Old 05-30-2012, 04:44 AM   #15
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Yes I may be guilty of over analyzing in specific areas I am interested in. Not in others, like in how I deal with my personal relationships, and this has gotten me in trouble in the past.
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But, do you find yourself over analyzing things in other parts of your life? Expecially those parts of life that aren't 'data driven' like relationships, wants and desires?
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Old 05-30-2012, 06:56 AM   #16
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It depends on the perspective. People who are spontaneous and impulsive would find DW and I deadly dull because we do tend to consider all the options, alternatives, connotations and denotations before deciding almost anything.

This drives the "Oh, just do it!" kind of person nuts. Just ask my ex.
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Old 05-30-2012, 07:38 AM   #17
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Depends on what needs to be analyzed, but in general I would say too much analysis leads to paralysis and makes Jack a dull boy. Might we say that about Bogleheads
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Old 05-30-2012, 08:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
...(snip)...
A maximizer tries to make the one, optimal choice. A satisficer stops once you find a choice that meets your criteria. You don't keep looking to see if there is a another choices that you meet your criteria plus be even better.

So -- for me -- looking for a car I had a huge spreadsheet of choices. Some criteria was absolute essential and I knocked out cars that didn't meet the criteria. But of the ones that met the criteria I spent a lot of effort deciding which of those cars was the best and agonized over relatively minor criteria to find out which of two cars that met my overall criteria was best. I am a clear maximizer. I also look for what is most optimal. To determine that I often do a lot of over-analysis.
...
Some things are worth doing a very through analysis, like investment methodologies that you will use for a long time. There are people who spend loads of time on their choice for things they love to think about but then they make automatic decisions about big $ choices like investments.

So I just thought that I'd mention that uneven analysis choices can be counterproductive. For myself, I'm trying not to over optimize the little stuff like which bar of soap is the best buy in the market. I do look at the unit prices though.
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:05 AM   #19
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Most people would probably say I overanalyze some things. But I see it as being as well informed as possible, and it never inhibits me from making decisions. I'm comfortable making decisions quickly whether I've had time to analyze or not. And I love to learn, always have. I'm not always satisfied knowing something superficially, I want to really understand why where possible.

IMO, you're only overanalyzing if it delays decision making...YMMV
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:54 AM   #20
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analyzing how much I over analyze things... now there is something new to ponder, er I mean analyze
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