Are You Suffering from Overthinking? (Analysis Paralysis)

Remember that your plan may fail, and not because of any flaw in it or you, but because you didn’t know everything.

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If fear is the opposite of progress, then action is the opposite of hesitation. Hesitation comes from uncertainty or overthinking things. It’s good to have a plan, but as the famed military strategist, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, once said, “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” Remember that your plan may fail, and not because of any flaw in it or you, but because you didn’t know everything.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if your plan is perfect. Even the best thought out plan will have eventually have to change. That often happens in the middle of implementation. Overthinking the plan is, in essence, pointless. We do this because we are trying to overcompensate in other ways, trying to anticipate the change in the plan before we begin. That’s like trying to catch a fly by analyzing every direction it might take while buzzing about the room. By the time you have the alternative tactics laid out, the fly had disappeared long ago.

“Taking action means that you need to be able to change your direction, and even change your entire plan on the fly.”

Here are 5 tips to help you overcome analysis paralysis:

  1. Stop and listen to your mind. Take notice when you are overthinking.
  2. When you are thinking negative thoughts, stop. Find ways to replace those negative thoughts with more positive thinking.
  3. Be prepared to solve the problem instead of dwell on it.
  4. Keep track of the things you think about. Write down your thoughts — especially the negative ones — and see how they could be turned around.
  5. Be more aware of what’s happening in the moment. Don’t dwell on the has been or what could; focus on what is going on right now.

Overthinking will stagnate you, It will become a way to discover all the ways something could go wrong, rather than finding a plan for change. Overthinking will tie you up in knots and make it impossible for you to proceed.

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