One of my problems is that I tend to over analyze things. I had never even realized it till one day we had a substitute in our Sophomore Honors English class. He walked in and wrote on the board the following:
He then asked us what it was. As a group of eggheads we caucused over its meaning throwing out elaborate explanations one after another. This continued for about seven minutes, till we finally gave up. He simply told us that it was two na’s (tunas). While it was a joke it was plainly evident that we were over thinking the problem. The answer was simple and relatively obvious, once we were told. Years have passed and I still remember this event. I know want my tendencies are, and when I can catch myself I go back and look at the situation in the plainest of fashion. Being able to do this has saved me a lot of heartache, but at the same time it can be difficult to do when you innately go into super nova “what’s the answer” overdrive. So I’ve tried to train myself to do the following, more or less:
- Look at the problem initially without really analyzing (I just kind of try to absorb it without trying to figure out the answer, sometimes I find it hard to push back that desire to have at it right away)
- Figure out what really is the issue, what do I really need to do (Peter Drucker used to say, “it’s more important to do the right thing than to do things right” and “there is nothing so useless as doing things efficiently that which should not be done at all.”)
- Knowing what I have to do, I then go about developing a plan on how to do it. I usually come up with at least three (one simple easy, one complicated integrating all aspects of the problem, and one crazy nutty one that could lead me in a totally be a new direction). Then thinking it over I come up with a third plan, which uses the best parts of the three, addresses all concerns and will provide a new direction.
- Then I implement the plan, but plans are never set in stone. They should be designed to be flexible. That’s why you come up with various strategies.
Now do all questions in life require this much work? No, that would be crazy if they did. Most of them can go up to step two and then the answer of what to do is clear. This way I have steps three and four as analytical back up, just in case super nova is necessary.
Over thinking things can only lead to bad things. Classic case in point.
I love the Princess Bride, so funny on soooo many levels.