Why is it, that we can spot the issues of another person a hundred meters away and have a solution for them in mere seconds but when it comes to our own problems, we are totally blind?
Why do get amazing ideas and then proceed to talk ourselves out of doing them?
And why, when we do finally decide to follow through on that great idea, does our mind freeze up so we are unable to make a plan?
Well, there are several issues that could be at play here. Their might be a self belief issue in that you might not think you are good enough, or have the correct skills to solve this current problem. It could be that somewhere in your past, probably as a child, you were criticized for something you did that you thought was pretty awesome and the take away message you internalized was, why even try.
Perhaps you have the need to please and the acceptance of others is more important than your desire to please yourself. What will they say if you make a decision that is contrary to the excepted actions of the group? To a pleaser, that kind of potential judgement is just too much to handle.
Or maybe the solution to your problem will expose you as the fraud you think you are. Showing your vulnerability would feel like bleeding in a pool of sharks. Better to do nothing and preserve your dignity – life and limb.
The reality is, all these reactions are just your brain over thinking. For some of us, it has developed into an art form so finely honed over a life time of fear and self doubt that we have become masters. Even we can not tell when we are bullshitting ourselves.
Phrases like: I don’t know. What will they think? I could never do that., are the large brush strokes on your canvas of doubt. Sentences out of your mouth starting with: I wish. If only. Maybe someday., are the subtle shadings. We practice our over-thinking art on every idea, hope or dream we dare to conceive. Our minds suffocate these potentially dangerous, expansive thoughts with self talk and rationalizations designed to keep us small, unnoticeable and safe.
It is our ego working. It’s the real artist here. It says to us, “You tried that before and made a mess of it. Why would you want to do that again?”
But you are not just your ego and you are not your past. So I offer the simple antidote to your finely crafted ability to over-think with the deceptively clever act of doing.
Let’s say that you have this idea for a new business. You love to garden and you have a secret desire to grow and sell herbs. (Here is where you replace my example with your own secret desire.) Now if you are a master in the art of over-thinking, the first thing that you will do after you have created this herb production dream in your mind is start listing all the reasons why you could never get the business off the ground: Your garden space is not big enough. You have no money. You don’t know where to sell your herbs. You don’t have a truck to transport them. There is too much competition. And the list goes on.
A trusted friend comes along and you confide in them and share your dream, and the reasons it will never happen. Within seconds, your well meaning friend, because she loves you and wants to see you happy, starts brainstorming ideas to solve your challenges around starting this herb business. This is where the subtle shadings come in. “Yes but”, you say. “You’re right, one day I will” you lament, but we all know that you won’t take her advice. Your master skills of over-thinking has already sealed the fate of your herb garden dream. Or has it.
What if you committed to doing just one small tasks towards this dream? Maybe as meager as potting some herbs to put on your window sill. By doing so, that one simple act of resistance keeps the hope of the dream alive. It sends a message to the universe that you are committed to doing something towards the realization of your herb production farm.
Just like any new action, practice will be required. Yes, at first, your work might not be very good. In fact, it might even suck. The soil mix might be wrong, the light too dim on the window sill – no worries, just start with one small action and repeat again and again.
Before long, another opportunity will present itself. It will probably be insignificant like someone offers you their extra herb seedlings, or invites you to a talk with a master gardener or to visit a herb farm. This is a test from the universe to see if you are willing to do something more towards having your dream of a herb business. Again, just a small task or action – do it. Because, in those small actions, the energy of desire is being launched out into the universe where there is a real chance for a vibrational match to find it. That is how luck happens. That is how opportunities happen.
Here is a possible scenario:
Your friend noticed those small pots of herbs on your window sill. When she comments about them you get the chance to talk about your desire to create a herb production business. She gifts you with a book for your next birthday that helps you become passionate about a particular rare herb. You become an authority in growing this herb. Soon, a regional garden show invites you to speak on growing and harvesting this rare plant. You meet an organic farmer at the event who has extra space in his green house to rent out and because he was so inspired by your talk at the garden show, he offers that space to you.
Your dream has now become a reality. All because you chose to resist over-thinking all the reason why you couldn’t have your dream, and instead took one small action step, and then another and another.
You don’t have to have all the answers, you just have to start doing. Remember, baby steps are still steps, and over time they amount to a large distance of progress.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.Lao Tzu
You can not overcome over-thinking with more thinking. Action is the only antidote.
It does not matter what the dream is, or the challenges surrounding the dream, what matters is that you get out of your head and into action. All you need to decide is what small step you can do right now today, and then do that. Action is the only way to build confidence, and confidence is the only thing that is going to shut up the negative dialogue reel playing in your head.
Do you want to create something worth while in your life? Maybe you have the dream already. A journey of a thousand miles after all, starts with a single step. The only thinking that should be involved is deciding where to place the step after that.
To step is to do, so step again and then again and watch your thinking change from can’t to can and your life from stagnant with over thinking to totally alive and being.
So I challenge you. Today, what action can you do to keep that dream of yours alive? What small act of resistance can you achieve against the master over-thinking artist in your head?
Now before your mind recognizes this defiance as an attack to it’s finely honed over-thinking tactics, go take that action. Your soul will sing and your confidence will soar because today, your dream won.