Thinking Less, Doing More

Have you ever known someone whose life is in crisis and they can’t seem to do anything to help themselves? You’re thinking, “Kick him out!” or “Get some help!” or “Just do it!” but the person affected can’t or won’t do any of the things that would clearly make the situation better.

Actions that seem so obvious to the rest of us are met with “that won’t work,” or “I already tried.” What some of these people are fighting against is being stuck in a mindset that sees only obstacles and barriers. In many cases, over-thinking and over-analyzing creates a cycle of doubt that leaves them paralyzed. Then, often due to inaction, they create a downward spiral of negative events and consequences that make the situation so bad that it truly seems insurmountable. We can see this in the woman who won’t leave an abusive husband, or in the man who will stay in a dead-end job rather than look for something new.

Contrast that with a person who is really successful, and attracts lots of positive people and positive attention. Have you ever thought, “Wow, he seems like an ordinary guy to me?” “I’m smart, capable, attractive (fill in the blank), what’s he got that I don’t have?” In other words, what separates people who feel successful in their lives from the rest of us?

I’ve seen many people in crisis lately, and I know many people whose lives are thriving. In my view, they represent a continuum, and the difference between being at one end or the other is relatively simple. The continuum is a range of belief that we exercise some control over our lives. At one end are those who can’t help themselves. They have lost the belief – if they ever had it – that they are in control, or that their choices can change their circumstances. At the other end are the folks that jump into life with both feet. They are the main character in a book of life that they are writing. If they screw up, they quickly change course and try again.

Here’s my observation – happier people think less and do more. That doesn’t mean they’re thoughtless, or ignorant. They simply don’t spend as much time thinking about doing something as they do putting choices into practice. They suspend their fear of the possible outcomes of doing the “wrong” thing. They believe in themselves enough to figure if they make a mistake, they’ll work their way out of it.

I’m going to work my way toward that end of the continuum. If you catch me thinking too much about something, just slap me out of it!!

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2 Comments

Filed under change, success

2 responses to “Thinking Less, Doing More

  1. Fran Andrus

    This is so true, particularly in a bureaucratic workplace. Please, everyone, do more, think less!

  2. Hey Sarah – I like the message here! But what should I make of the first line of the first speech I ever heard at my first Region Manager meeting? “A Region Manager’s job is to think.” Does that mean that “thinking” is the action that needs to be taken and a Region Manager? Things that make you go, hummm …

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