During the last summer season, I decided to improve my swimming skills. I am not particularly good at this sport since I learned to swim as an adult and did not have many occasions to train. When I found the swimming pool still open this summer, I thought it was a great opportunity to try my hand at it. When I stood on the edge of the pool, I dreamed of swimming the whole length of the pool right away, without checking how deep the bottom went. Soon the silent voice of doubt and thoughts of possible dangers crept into my mind – about choking, cramping, weakening. I was already about to give up on this intention when the image of myself standing on the bank of the opposite end of the pool had slipped into my imagination again. And then… without thinking any longer, I moved forward. I was just focused on achieving my goal. For someone may be funny, but for me it meant a challenge! I covered the whole distance happily and felt like a winner. I then realized that doing so has been about making a bold decision – quickly estimating the risk and drawing up an overall action plan, without needlessly analyzing all possible obstacles. Then my energy might be used to implement the plan and overcome the actual barriers, instead of a lot of abstract ones. I understood that I could apply this discovery in other life situations, also in business. So, that day turned out to be a double victory. I learned something about myself and picked up a meaningful life lesson.
Overthinking occurs when you worry so much about something that you spend too much time thinking about it and end up getting the subject stuck in your own mind so there is room for nothing else, eventually leading you to make poor decisions and fail. People like this will get so caught up in all the semantics and little things that they forget the bigger picture and start to stress themselves out about things that barely even matter.
One of the most harmful things you can do when you plan and go on your way to success is when you think too hard. Over-thinking is quite a common problem for people, and one of the most destructive. It can lead you to go off the right path, do things wrong and even give up your dreams. There is nothing worse than thinking about something so much that you end up doing it worse than before.
Another example, you might want to ask your boss for a raise one day. If you spend the whole night prior to thinking about all the possible questions, he will ask you and rehearsing your entire speech, again and again, you will start to stress out about all the what-ifs. You will start to think about what happens if he asks you why and what if he does not like your answer. After a while, you will worry about it so much that you might just not ask at all – you have talked yourself out of a move toward success. Chances are, if you would have just had a loose plan that could be flexible and adjustable, it would not have been an exceedingly difficult conversation. You are actively making things harder on yourself by being so worrisome that you stress yourself out over little things.
Allowing yourself to continuously visualize all potential bad scenarios and hesitating endlessly may consume all your energy, kill your creativity, and make you powerless and stuck with an unenjoyable or unfulfilling life. At some point, it becomes difficult to even want to go about your day – considering how much you subconsciously are afraid and detest starting new things.
A part of this whole concept of overthinking comes from a desire to be perfect and avoid wrongdoing. People need to realize, though, that this is not a realistic goal to have. But this is natural to make mistakes along the way. Instead of wasting your time and energy worrying about what might happen and freaking out about the possibility of something going wrong, accept that things might go wrong, and that is alright! Mistakes are perfect opportunities for you to learn, develop, and grow. Everyone learns through their mistakes, whether they are big or small. At the end of the day, you are still going to be alive, and you will have a great deal of newfound knowledge that can help you improve in the future.
I wish you a lot of courage in making decisions.
PS. What brave decision have you made recently and don’t regret it (even if you haven’t been fully successful)? Please comment below.