I’m taking another look at one of my quote images, and I did give it some thought…
The first thought that strikes my mind when looking at the image, is that it gives me a headache!
I was toying around with some different ideas for image creation, and after hitting a few buttons this one appeared. I laughed as I found myself leaning my head back instinctively as my brain reacted, and the words I put over the top seem to work well.
Don’t overthink it.
It might seem too simple, glib even, to say that when it comes to self improvement or personal development we shouldn’t overthink it, we should just go for it. In fact the whole idea gets dismissed because of that glibness, which is a shame.
I like to look at the brain science behind the point, which in my view takes it to a higher level than just a catchy phrase.
The brain science of how we see things is fascinating. When the light goes into the eye, it’s converted at various stages as it gets sent to the brain as an electrical message. The brain then puts that feedback together to come up with what we ‘see’, right?
The brain does *not* put the input together to create a new image, it compares the input to the internal model already there! It’s a key difference, and it’s precisely how optical illusions work, and it’s why you might have found the image I’m using here ‘moving’ a bit when you first looked at it.
The internal model says one thing, but the input says another – a lot of input too, and since these brain functions are done in tiny fractions of seconds, it can lead to clashes which create that need to look again, or a feeling of needing to look away!
So, all well and good, but how does this relate to the field of personal development..?
Well, I did say that it’s an almost instinctive reaction to look away when we see an image that clashes visually for us. The brain is trying to gain those extra fractions to get on top of the message – to keep looking at it is to overload the input, it’s to overthink it.
That’s a subconscious reaction, it’s something our brain is doing by itself, but it’s also true that we can do this on a conscious level when it comes to problems we might be trying to solve, or progress we might be trying to make.
We overthink it.
We try to get everything ‘just so’, all the pieces lined up perfectly, all the dotting and crossing done *before* we make progress. It can be easy to get too bogged down in this preparation – although we’re trying to get things right, we’re not actually making any progress, so we don’t see any movement, and then…we give up.
We get fed up with it all, throw the whole thing up in the air and walk away. The end result of that, of course, is no progress.
Paralysis by analysis.
It can stop us in our tracks, it can stop us from even getting started.
So, what can we do about it..?
The way to get past this is to use the brain science to our advantage to remember the point about the internal models.
Now, at this point it’s important to point out that I’m not saying we should just rush forward without any thought at all. I’m certainly *not* saying that!
That can lead to real problems if we crash forward with no plan or no thought of consequence, problems both for ourselves and for those around us.
The words over the image do not say ‘don’t think it’, they say ‘don’t *overthink* it!’
That’s a key difference.
We should make plans, absolutely. We should work out the steps we need to take, and what the results of those steps might be, but we need to do it knowing that we can’t be sure of all the possible outcomes!
We can’t set up our brain models perfectly. It can’t be done, and that’s what leads to the paralysis by analysis if we try too hard to do that.
We must accept that our internal models will be changed as we go along, – we might like the new model, we might not. Of course, if we don’t like it, we can change things again! That’s what happens when you take action and make changes.
Change is an inevitable part of self improvement and personal development, and although change can be scary, by definition it’s change that we want to instigate in the first place!
So, we need to get our brains ready to accept unpredictable changes to the internal models. We can predict the outcomes only up to a certain point – beyond that it’s going to be unknown, because the variables of the consequences of our actions become too much to be able to predict models. Certainly for our ‘conscious’ brain to be happy with. Once we accept that this unknown aspect is ok, that free us up for action.
Think about it yes, but don’t overthink it.
If you want to do something, think about it, prepare by all means, but then do it. It really will open the way for fun, adventure, experiences, for *progress*.
Look to the things you’ve been thinking about doing. Have you been held back by overthinking? Could it be that you could just simply do it instead? I know it’s something I’ve definitely been guilty of myself, but I’d say look at the words in the image and make sure that you…don’t overthink it.
Ok, do let me know what you think, I love the feedback!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. Do connect with me! You’ll find me on the social channels via the buttons around the sites, but Facebook is my favourite