Have you ever said to yourself “Don’t mess up, Don’t mess up” on repeat before a big presentation or an important sporting competition. Usually, what happens? You screw up, you mess up. Yes, thinking is essential, but the problem is that, unthinkingly, we think too much. Our subconscious creates a wild and whirling storm of words and thoughts that leave little room for anything else. We’re overwhelmed, overloaded, and distracted by our own mind!
Research shows over thinkers believe they’re helping themselves by rehashing their problems in their heads. But studies show analysis paralysis is real.
Over analyzing everything interferes with problem-solving. It will cause you to dwell on the problem rather than look for solutions. And ironically, all that thinking won’t help you make a better more informed decision.
“Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.”
20% of Baby Boomers, 52% of Gen Xers, and 73% of Gen Yers are overthinkers. (1) You aren’t alone in this problem, just a global phenomenon that goes unnoticed.
The challenge with not thinking is the challenge of being in the present. We’re surrounded in a world that prizes overthinking, that prizes us to constantly be on alert. Whether it’s reading about the latest world disaster, scrolling through our instagram feed, or worrying about a big presentation at work, all of this clutter stops our mind from operating at full capacity. It prevents us from being in the present, and instead forces us to worry about the future or the past.
Whatever you face, whatever you’re doing, will require that you don’t sabotage yourself. That you don’t make it harder by overthinking, by needless doubts, or by second guessing. Be in the moment. Focus not on what you’re doing next, but what you’re doing now, and you’ll find that you’ll succeed in anything you do.
All that space in your brain, that’s yours. You control what goes on in that head of yours, and you have to protect it from yourself, from your own thoughts. Not with violent force, but gentle persistent sweeping, like a librarian quieting kids. The mind is an important and sacred space, keep it clean.