We’re rewarded for cautionary thinking—particularly in a time when everything is whizzing around literally at the click of a mouse. Want something? Click on it and it’s yours. Like something? Click “like” and you’ve weighed in. The speed of our lives may indeed be the bane of modern existence.
Yet there’s another side to this quick response ability--a helpful side to the side of us that “instantly” knows or feels.
Methodical can be good. Analytical is often brilliant. Both can slow our impulses and lessen our regrets as well as delay our desire for instant gratification.
But I believe, in some instances, the tendency to overanalyze people, situations, life events, etc., can also dampen our instincts and create self-doubt.
Actually, I don’t believe that; I know that. Firsthand.
In other words, there’s a canyon of difference between “thinking it over” and “overthinking.”
In our remarkable intellectual abilities, there remain numerous traps and endless loops. It’s remarkably easy for us to ascend to the point of decision-making, and then simply hold…or delay… or back off completely under the guise of needing more information. Or time. Or consensus.
If your tendency is to overthink to the point of inertia, I want you to run a personal experiment for a while. Are you ready? You’ve heard this advice a million times, but I think it bears repeating and reassessment as we move into the New Year:
“Trust your gut.”
What does that really mean? Quite simply, I believe it means (and science now offers evidence to support the adage) that on a very instinctive level, we all know what feels right and not right for us. Whether it’s a job, a relationship, an opportunity—we have a fabulous inner guide that is ready to assist if we let ourselves listen and feel.
So as your contemplating your life this holiday season and making plans for 2017, I want you to back off the analysis and justification modes. If an idea, or a person, or creative endeavor calls to you and you begin to step toward it, I want you to bypass your well-developed doubt muscle and take another step toward your “it.” No more thinking. Put your instincts into action. Allow your inner knowing to take the reins for a bit.
And then write me and tell me how it went. And what you noticed. And what you learned.
Wishing you all the best this holiday season and peace in the New Year.
Oh and one more thing—if you’re keen on joining me in Montana in September 2017, I’m offering a sweet discount through the end of the year.
Reserve your spot by midnight on December 31, 2016, and pay the “sign up with a friend” rate. Click here for details.
Martha Beck-certified life coach, Equus coach, Penn State journalism instructor and professional writer.