Many women, dear reader, have a tendency to over-think. At times, this analytical and cautious nature is useful and very helpful, but often-times it is counter-productive.
The trick, is telling the difference (:
Rather than repressing this trait, it is better simply to understand when and when it does not serve or benefit you, that way you may repress it at appropriate times.
“The sharpest minds often ruin their lives by overthinking the next step, while the dull win the race with eyes closed.”
Over-thinking, dear reader, not only prevents you from taking positive action, it can even create more problems in and of itself.
Shakespeare’s character Hamlet is a classic case-in-point. He knows he must avenge his father’s wrongful murder, but he vacillates continuously throughout the play, unsure of what is the perfect or “correct” course of action to take. As a result of his hesitation each step of the way, nearly everyone close to him dies in some manner, and eventually he too succumbs to the same fate.
Dear reader, there is no “correct” course of action, in anyone’s life.
Overthinking, especially when our moods affect our thoughts, is detrimental to our normal functions. A study from UC Santa Barbara suggests that thinking too much about a situation impedes our judgment and performance. The results? When conscious processes of explicit memory were disrupted in the prefrontal cortex, participants remembered images better. The decision-making process became more accurate when participants simply guessed and didn’t actively think through their decision.
Science confirms what common wisdom already knows – that is, that over-thinking rarely, if ever, helps a situation.
That being said, however, there is a difference between not over-thinking and acting with no forethought whatsoever, impulsively.
Impulsive action is perhaps just as bad as over-thinking and should be avoided as well.
Not all “snap decisions” are impulsive ones either, dear reader, but it is advisable to assess before taking a course of action that you have good reason to do so and aren’t simply reacting without direction.
Over-thinking happens when a woman second-guesses herself, repeatedly. It happens because she doesn’t trust her own intuition and judgement. She keeps searching for alternative scenarios, often over things through which she has incomplete knowledge and can only make an educated guess decision in the best of all worlds.
Many people who have jobs that depend on their decision-making abilities have reached a level of acceptance about this, a mental world-view that enables them to be highly effective at what they do:
“You can’t plan every step in life. I know that I could have been better… at almost everything that I’ve done. I don’t have any doubt about that; but I think I did okay.” – Condoleezza Rice
“You learn that you are very often weighing, balancing, unpalatable choices. It’s not so black and white; very often you have bad alternatives, and you’re trying to choose between them. I don’t mind taking decisions. The fact is in decision-making you don’t always have all of the information you want or need; but you don’t have the luxury of not making a decision. ” – Condoleezza Rice
“You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.” – Michelle Obama
“Presidents quickly realize that while a single act might destroy the world they live in, no one single decision can make life suddenly better or can turn history around for the good.” – Lyndon B. Johnson
“A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one.” – Rita Mae Brown
“You must be single minded. Drive for the one thing on which you have decided.” – George S. Patton, Jr., Four Star Army General
Rather than over-thinking and thus prolonging the decision-making process dear reader, it is better to simply choose the path you believe is best based on current knowledge and understanding at the time, and adjust later, if need be.
“At the moment a decision is made, we cannot possibly know whether it is good or bad. Decision quality, when measured by results, can only be know as the consequences of the decision become known. Good managers are not only good analytic decision makers; more important, they are skilled in managing the consequences of their decisions.”
“Few successful leaders spend much time fretting about decisions once they are past… The only way he can give adequate attention to the decisions he has to make tomorrow is to put those of yesterday firmly behind him.”