Have you ever wondered how things would have panned out had you asked out your dream girl earlier, before she was in a new relationship? Or, perhaps you weighed the pros and the cons of a job only for your application to bounce back because you missed the deadline.
The mind has a remarkable ability to rationalize and calculate a myriad of situations to work out the best "plan of attack," so to speak. Often, however, thinking and, in particular, overthinking, clouds our decision making, which leads to missed opportunities.
1. Risky Business
We commonly associate spontaneity with a high-risk-and-reward scenario, and this is the crux of the dilemma.
Throughout life, the majority of us develop an aversion to risk from those around us. Due to past experiences and an internal instinct, parents guide their children onto the conservative path in order to keep them safe.
As a result, a risk-free mindset is established. When confronted with a difficult situation, an individual thinks, "How do I get out of this situation unscathed?" rather than, "How do I maximize this situation to get what I want?"
Oftentimes, we overestimate the negative consequences of a rash decision. The truth is, taking risks, whether successful or not, fosters growth and development.
2. Fail To Succeed
There are countless instances in history of failure after failure eventually leading to a great success. Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, famously said, "I have not failed.
I've just found 10,000 ways that don't work," referring to the number of attempts he required before creating a working light bulb.
Overthinking greatly reduces opportunities to fail. By rationalizing, we often identify flaws in our plan or idea, leading us to not bother even a single attempt. This may seem like a good evolutionary tactic, but what if failure teaches us a valuable lesson about the process, leading to improvements in the future?
Failing and, in particular, failing regularly, is important to your overall development. First, it greatly lessens the fear of failure and rejection, which grips many of us. How often have you heard, "I wouldn't have won anyway"?
The point in life is not to clear every hurdle, but to stumble and fall on occasion, get up and try again with a different approach.
3. Close Some Doors
When thinking through a scenario, we often do so in a manner to keep as many doors ajar as possible. Yes, this does leave us with more options, but fewer opportunities.
It's hard work keeping doors open, and consequently, a lot of effort is spent on this chore. Rather than focusing all energies on one approach, it is sparsely spread out, making it difficult to achieve anything of note.
Close a few doors, and concentrate your efforts on one endeavor; this is much more likely to yield favorable results.
Trust Your Gut
I'm not going to tell you to that your first instinct is always correct. Truth is, it's not, and that's not the point.
Learn to make the wrong decisions, dust yourself off and try again.
When you go with your first instinct, it prevents you from making a decision with a muddled mindset, which wastes valuable time. Maybe the girl will say no anyway, or the job goes to another candidate. Then again, it could just as easily go the other way.
So, be aware of your thoughts and don't overanalyze everything. Be a little rash and reckless, and make some bad calls.
Remember, taking the well-worn path will get you to where everyone has been. Fighting your way through the jungle, down your own path, will get you to where you want to be.