How to Stop Overthinking and Start Doing Something Instead

How to Stop Overthinking and Start Doing Something Instead

Because it’s all in your mind.

November 23, 2020

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

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

I was very lucky to have a manager that supports me and helped me change for the better. He gave me one 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 you’ll be consumed by negativity. Think too positive and you’ll be deluded by your own expectations.

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

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

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

“If you don’t know…”

Make a Mind Map

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

Whenever you are in between decisions, write down every possibilities on a piece of paper. Put the main topic in the center 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 actions, it will help you make a decision and take actions.

“…Just Give it a Go”

What’s the Purpose?

Before making the decision, take a step back and think about what is 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 actually 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 choose the decision that we want, but it is better to make a decision based on what we really 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, create a list of pros and cons, think about your conditions, and the reason you are thinking about this.

Just give it a go.

This article is based on a conversation I had with a recruiter in a job interview. The advice was written on a book that was given by my former manager, Nav Pawera.

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