A Happy Peach

Things that make my heart smile…

The problem with overthinking things…

15 Comments

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:

NA

NA

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.Β  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:

  1. 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)
  2. 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.”)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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15 thoughts on “The problem with overthinking things…

  1. Good thoughts. I always over analyse things especially about what people have said / what they think, we need to be more laid back I think!

    • I think you’re right, but being chill sometimes is harder than it looks. Although I guess being chill is supposed to be easy. But it would be better for our stress levels.

  2. I am the Queen of Overanalyzing!! Thanks for bringing up some food for thought…
    xo
    Mindy

  3. Lucky me, I don’t over analyze. πŸ˜€

  4. I don’t really over analyze things. I mean in relation to my writing theres really no planning or analysis. See image or idea, and write it.

    Think it comes from when I read Zen Buddhism at university.

    • I think Buddhism can have a great affect on how one operates. It teaches you to accept the whole, whereas “Western” thinking tends to want to deconstruct the idea into smaller pieces and change accordingly. Two different approaches.

  5. sometimes i just jump. I mean to the conclusion. And sometimes i take time. i mean to make the jump. lol

    …I don’t know man! It depends on the situations.

    • I think it depends on the situation for me too. I have a tendency to jump to conclusions sometimes too. You’re not alone Khanum. πŸ˜€

  6. but u know what . i think most of the times, the jumping really works. I mean wheneva I was given a task to write an article in 1 hours time during examination, an article which would be so dynamic as to earn me full marks. I noticed, wheneva i wrote without thinking ova things so hard it always turned out to be awesome and when i paid so much attention to the perfection of it, it always got ruined! robbed of its beauty. Keyword. ROBBED. sometimes the beauty of the moment lies in its ‘intense and abrupt action’. so now i dont plan much over certain things. I dont over analyze. I just go with the flow.

    • Wow Khanum, that’s a beautiful point. When you just go with you inner self you get wonderful results. I love you for saying that, it really puts things in perspective. Thanks so much for posting your comment!!!

  7. I think English majors are especially prone to this. We read the world in symbols and metaphors. In an attempt to be functional, I try to live by what you’ve outlined, but after 33 years of trying to keep the balance between crazy and sane, sometimes I just say to hell with it and run with the crazy. That’s just who we are. Plus, I think our overthinking tendencies are kind of awesome. πŸ˜‰

    • Haha, you are my kind of gal. Sometimes you have got to allow for a little insanity. I think there is something about us when we get into our thirties. We know better and so we don’t feel to do dumb things as much. But we are still young enough that there are new things to explore and sometimes challenges to conquer. But you’ve got experience, and that tempers out bad judgement a lot of times. I like when I let myself think things through and sometimes just let my imagination run away. But when I feel like I am stressing myself, I know I need to stop. Worrying never helps me, I tend to be a worry wart.

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