How to stop overthinking and start doing something instead

What good does thinking too much bring you? Think about how you would fail and you’ll be consumed by negativity. Think too positive and you’ll be deluded by your own expectations.

How to stop overthinking and start doing something instead

Recently, someone asked me for the best advice or feedback I have ever received. It did not take long to find an answer to that question.

At some point in my career, I used to worry too much and often waver between decisions. The reason was simple: I was too afraid of making mistakes.

I was lucky to have a manager who supported and helped me improve. He gave me one piece of advice that I will always remember, written on the very first page of a book that he gave me:

“If you don’t know, just give it a go.”

Overthinking won’t get you anywhere

What good does thinking too much bring you? Think about how you would fail and be consumed by negativity. Think too positively, and your expectations delude you.

Pro tip: Don’t mix your imagination with reality.

You will be the one who enjoys the fruits of your labour — but you will also suffer because of your decisions.

So, it is fine to be cautious and hopeful, but you must rationalise it by taking action. There’s a very thin line between planning carefully and worrying too much.

“If you don’t know…”

Make a mind map

I found a mind map useful to help me navigate through ideas, decisions, and expectations.

Whenever you are in between decisions, write down every possibility on paper. Put the main topic in the centre of the paper and grow your mind map as you think out loud.

Pros and cons

Once you start with the mind map, you’ll find yourself writing down the possibilities of your actions. Write those down in a separate list, and you have a list of pros and cons.

Compare the pros and cons of each action; it will help you decide and take action. It is not easy; it might take a while, but it would help you take a step forward.

“…just give it a go.”

What’s the Purpose?

Before making the decision, take a step back and consider the purpose of doing this.

If you are looking for a job, what are you looking for? Money? Company? Or the learning experience? If you are buying a new phone, what do you need? A cheap one, a good camera, or a good one that could last for years?

Adjust your decisions to match your needs and conditions. It’s easy to decide what we want, but it is better to decide based on what we need. After all, what you want may not always be what you need.

It’s as simple as how it sounds

If you don’t do something, nothing will happen. Make a mind map, list the pros and cons, and think about your conditions (is it realistic?) and why are you doing it in the first place.

If you don't know, just give it a go.

I hope you find this inspiring. Remember:

It's not going to be easy
But it's not impossible.

Your friend,