In my last article I was mentioning that one of the things we should carefully look into is “overthinking”.
Overthinking is not only affecting the great majority of young and middle age women it is also present in around 43% of our male colleagues! Shortly it deserves some attention.
Is it all bad? I believe there are benefits to thinking in depth. Being logical about taking action has merit and definitely positive results. There is however a difference between thinking about something just enough – and overthinking to the point of losing it or letting it paralyze our actions.
Starting a new business, or a new venture, anything new in general is no easy task. And the bigger the venture the more difficult it becomes (or so we think).
Truth is however that we tend to overthink and therefore overcomplicate the starting process and overall the entire process. We tend to make it more painful than it actually is.
So what is overthinking, where does it originate from and why do we need to carefully look into it:
What is: Overthinking is spending an unreasonable amount of time thinking through something. It is worrying about our past mistakes or current stresses, overanalyzing regular experiences & interactions, reading into them things that aren’t actually there.
Where does it originate from? It originates from an actual or perceived lack of control over a certain aspect of life. The lack of control comes with a feeling of helplessness. Overthinking is frequently the direct result.
Why do we need to carefully look into it? Because it is a waste of time and energy! We often end up spending more time thinking of an issue than we would spend on solving the issue!
Because overthinking affects problem solving and rational thinking; it interferes with initiative and motivation; most important because it takes a serious toll on our wellbeing.
Overthinking isn’t something we are born with, it is a habit we form over time, probably as a defense mechanism to the possibility of failure. In other words, it means it is something that with a bit of effort we can avoid.
- Admitting that it is there and it is not helping
- Realizing that being perfect is not possible. Striving for perfection is signing up for disaster, and the sooner we give up those perfectionist ideas, the sooner it will all become clearer and easier.
- Overcoming fear. Lets ask what is the absolute worst that could possibly happen – and then accept that outcome. If the worst case scenario isn’t actually that bad, and if we know how to deal with it if it came to that, anxiety about that thing may disappear completely.
- Changing the channel in our mind when found overthinking. The best way to avoid overthinking is to busy ourselves with an activity. Getting out, doing something, and get our mind off the thing we can’t stop thinking about. It is possible to do this… we just have to be willing to give it a shot, which is probably the trickiest. Working out, reading, going on a drive, writing are things that work for me.
- Scheduling reflection time. Let’s incorporate a “thinking time” in our routine. Enforcing a time limit to our thinking and documenting our thoughts surely helps. Let’s say 15 minutes daily. When we notice overthinking outside the scheduled time, it is time to stop. Remember we have another 15 minutes tomorrow.
- Keeping focus on active problem solving. A repetitive thinking about our problems will not help. How about trying to look for solutions to the problem?
7. Have a sounding board. Someone who will provide us with relevant, meaningful, unemotional feedback. Someone who will tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear.
Business isn’t easy, I will admit. There is a lot to deal with and the road to success is a long and difficult one. Rarely anything will happen just the way we planned.
But then again should we spend all our time and energy, overthinking and never starting what we want to or better jump into the waters of the unknown, learn, adjust, adapt, grow, look for a moment back, just to see how far we have reached and continue our journey stronger because of the battles and struggles we have been through?
Author: Adriana Usvat