Over -thinking is the thief of action
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.