Here's To The Overthinkers - ep75
Overthinking can get such bad press. Some reports have overthinking linked to anxiety and depression but it doesn’t have to be that way. The problem with categorising yourself as an over thinker is that life is never black and white. You might also identify as a lateral thinker (thinking outside the box) but you’ll also be able to think vertically (using a logical process) and vice versa. We may have tendencies towards one more than the other but we can still access both thought processes.
Sometimes we overthink and sometimes we under think. I know which one I would rather do more often! The successful people I have studied reside in the overthinking category. In fact, their overthinking IS the very reason for their success in most cases.
Having the ability to be able to thoroughly think things through is a great advantage for any large decision. If you wish to set goals and you want to achieve more, then your ability to analyse and strategize is of utmost importance. Every eventuality should be thought through. In law it’s called due diligence. It is expected that when it comes to business and investing, you’ll do your homework and carry out extensive research.
The main problem with overthinking is the ‘over’ part. Knowing when you have crossed over to the point of it becoming procrastination.
How to Overthink properly
It’s hard to beat a simple pros and cons exercise. Write down the advantages and disadvantages of your decision or the action steps. I still favour pen and paper as it’s easier to perform a mind map (linking imagery, words and thoughts on paper) then it is using digital devices. I find it can be easier to think on paper and to include diagrams and visual aids and then to transfer to digital means. Computer software or phone apps can force more of a vertical thought process. I listened to a very successful writer recently who writes one novel every year and always hand writes everything first.
Before you seek counsel it’s important to know what you want to achieve so that others don’t feel they need to help you to make up your mind. That generally turns out to not be what you wanted. Decide on your goal first and then get advice on how to achieve it as well as all of the potential pitfalls.
Avoid Analysis Paralysis
When you’re overwhelmed, you’re under managed. You simply need help or advice from others. Once you’ve thrashed out a plan and gotten feedback from those close to you, it will be time to make a decision and follow through. Overthinking is an integral part of the decision making process until the point where it turns into analysis paralysis. You’ll need to set a time frame for your decision to be made and try to stick with it.
How to avoid the build-up of anxiety
When thinking starts going around in circles, you become more indecisive and frustrated which can lead to inactivity, loss of confidence and ultimately self-loathing.
You’re decision making process may also involve leaving the subject and then coming back to it at a later stage. You may need to have a good sleep and make a fresh decision in the morning. Meditation may help to give clarity as can a stroll in nature. Have faith in your process. Once you’ve made your decision, try not to revisit it. You’ll need to make peace with the fact that you’ve done everything within your power and time frame to reach your conclusion. Once the decision is made, it’s time to pull the trigger. Put plans into action. If it doesn’t work out for you, analyse what went wrong and make another plan. If it does work out for you, analyse what went right and make another plan.
If you are going to overthink then you may as well overthink about the things that you want to overthink about and not the stuff you don’t. Direct your time and energy to your favoured subjects and hopefully your brain won’t get the chance to gruel over or misread unnecessary thoughts. Focus on your future and leave regret in the past.
My final point would be to surround yourself with people who are understanding and possibly a little forgiving of your thought process. It helps greatly if you have a partner that knows how you think and can help with your decision making process.
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By Roundhouse Rob, The Success Sensei
Robert Devane is a serial entrepreneur and experienced investor as well as a former martial arts multiple World champion and professional MMA fighter with over 20 years of coaching experience.
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