Over -think­ing is the thief of ac­tion

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - DEN­NIS J HOIBERG The Re­silience Whis­perer

STOP and lis­ten to what’s go­ing on in­side your head right now. “Where will I get that info for my as­sign­ment from?” “Why did that per­son do that?” “What will they think of me?” Sound fa­mil­iar?

One of the things that gets in the way of our well­be­ing is a ten­dency to over-think things, to pro­cras­ti­nate. A little voice takes over in our heads and we think, think and then think some more.

Little things then build up into big things and be­fore too long we are stuck – un­able to take suit­able ac­tion to do the things we must do for our own well­be­ing and daily lives. We start to feel anx­ious and this can lead to states of anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion and pos­si­bly even worse. When we don’t do things, our own self-worth and self-opin­ion de­creases – mak­ing us feel bad about our­selves and the cy­cle starts all over again.

If pro­cras­ti­na­tion is the thief of time, then over-think­ing is the thief of ac­tion. We need to un­der­stand what’s stop­ping us from ac­tu­ally do­ing.

I think fear, pride and con­fu­sion are three things that lead to over-think­ing. FEAR: Fear that what­ever we are think­ing about or are in­tend­ing to do may hurt or em­bar­rass us, or sim­ply may not work. We fear the consequences, even if those consequences may be pos­i­tive!

PRIDE: Do­ing what we need to do may mean hav­ing to ad­mit that we are wrong, both in our ac­tions and words. Who likes to ad­mit that they are wrong or made a poor choice? CON­FU­SION: Not quite sure what we should do or what the first step to get­ting us mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion is. Ev­ery­thing seems grey and un­cer­tain and we feel like we are in this heavy fog of con­fu­sion.

My first piece of ad­vice for over­com­ing over-think­ing is to re­alise that we have all done it. Even the most con­fi­dent per­son at some point in their life has ex­pe­ri­enced over-think­ing. All of us have pe­ri­ods of self-doubt and I be­lieve we all carry little seeds of it some­where in our con­scious­ness. So, if you over-think, you’re not alone.

This leads us to my sec­ond tip: get over your­self! I hear peo­ple who are caught in the over-think­ing trap – “what hap­pens if…”, “I know I should but…”

My re­sponse is typ­i­cally: “What would hap­pen if you did?”. To which the usual re­sponse is: “I don’t know”.

It’s not con­struc­tive. Try to take a mo­ment to tell that voice in your head to stop.

We try to get things right the first time. Per­fec­tion is a myth. Don’t worry too much about it. I re­fer to my third tip as “the law of im­per­fect im­ple­men­ta­tion”. Or put sim­ply: give it a crack!

This tip has a two-pronged ap­proach.

1. Give your­self an “hour of power”. For 60 min­utes, just do. Don’t think – do. What­ever task you must do, what­ever is on your mind now – just do it for 60 min­utes.

2. “Hone it till you own it.” What­ever you do to­day can be im­proved.

If over-think­ing is the thief of ac­tion, the thrill of achieve­ment is the re­ward of do­ing.

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