Thinking is a very good thing to do. It seems as if a whole lot of people would be better off if they did more of it. Everyone knows that it is best to think before they speak. Clearly not everyone knows it’s best to think before they post. I am shocked by what people will tweet or post to Facebook (is that still the name?) and other social media sites. I can’t believe they thought at all before posting some of what I see and if they did we are in worse shape then I would have ever believed.
But doing too much of a good thing can turn it into a bad thing. So it is with thinking.
Overthinking can be as bad as not thinking at all. Sometimes it’s even worse because overthinking can create problems that were not there in the first place. It can even create problems that are nothing more than a figment of the over-thinker’s imagination.
The most surprising thing about overthinking is that it seems the smarter you are the more prone you are to fall into the overthinking trap. All that knowledge can cause you to over prepare and over analyze.
It’s good to be thoughtful and use your experience when making a decision. Just be mindful as well of the danger of paralysis by analysis that too often comes with overthinking.
Overthinking is the most common way smart people sabotage their own success.
Partly because of what I do for a living a attend a lot of conference type meetings. That’s where I see smart people endlessly toiling away in front of a screen trying to create the perfect PowerPoint slides. Thinking and rethinking and thinking some more about exactly what they want to say. Changing one slide after another to get the exact “look” that will make their message connect with their audience.
In 1000’s of meetings like that with a countless number of attendees I have never heard “wow, that was the most awesome PowerPoint I’ve ever seen, it totally made the presentation.”
If you think your PowerPoint is the centerpiece of your presentation your thinking has missed the mark. PowerPoint should be a bit player behind your staring role. Whenever I see people fussing with their PowerPoint right up until the second they are presenting I know they are over thinking their presentation. WAY overthinking.
Just an aside to all the presenters reading this. If you know what you’re talking about then use your slides to merely support your presentation. If you don’t know what you’re talking about then don’t be doing a presentation.
Napoleon Hill wrote one of the all time greatest books titled “Think and Grow Rich.” He lived long ago but his principles still perfectly apply today. Obviously I never met him but I’ll bet if he would have written a sequel to that book it would have been titled “Over Think and Lose The Riches You Earned by Thinking. (Okay, I know his editor would have made him shorten the title but you get the point)
Do not limit your success by overthinking. Once your knowledge, your experience and your instincts tell you to act then act. Don’t let the same brain that informed you of what to do take that decision away from you by thinking and rethinking. Act!
Are you an “over-thinker?” Think about it…but not for too long.