- Courtesy of Patrick McGinnis
- In an interview with The New York Times’ Tim Herrera, the entrepreneur and investor Patrick McGinnis discussed how a so-called fear of better options could lead one to be overly hesitant in making decisions.
- For big life decisions, McGinnis applies the same kinds of approaches he does when evaluating a potential investment as a venture capitalist.
- He writes everything he can think of down, then reads it out loud, he told The Times, “like writing an investment memo for a VC investment.”
Making big decisions can be scary, but one Wall Streeter turned venture capitalist has a strategy to overcome paralysis that is based on his experiences as an investor.
Patrick McGinnis is an entrepreneur and investor who wrote the book “The 10% Entrepreneur: Living Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job,” in which he describes strategies for starting a new venture on your own while also keeping the security of a steady career.
McGinnis was recently interviewed by The New York Times’ Tim Herrera on the concept of fear of better options, or FOBO, a phrase McGinnis coined to describe a type of mental paralysis that can happen when making a decision.
The basic idea of FOBO, according to Herrera, is that one may be overly hesitant to take a pretty good course of action if it means forgoing some other hypothetical better course of action. The problem, of course, is that holding out for that better hypothetical could mean losing the good opportunity at hand.
McGinnis told Herrera of a couple of strategies he had used to overcome FOBO. For making important life decisions, McGinnis said, he relies on the kind of analysis he takes when evaluating a potential investment as a venture capitalist:
“For the big things, I try to think like a venture capitalist. I write everything down on the topic – pros, cons, etc. – and I read it out loud. That process is basically like writing an investment memo for a V.C. investment, but in this case the investment is of your time, money, energy, etc.”
McGinnis also described a quicker, simpler process for daily, less momentous decisions, which he called “asking the watch.” He told Herrera:
“I whittle something down to two options and then assign each item to a side of my watch. Then I look down and see where the second hand is at that moment. Decision made. It sounds silly, but if you try it – asking the universe – you will thank me.”