Overthinking- perhaps one of the most ‘over’-discussed topics. So here I am, to add my over-thought views to the over-discussion on the topic of overthinking.
While exploring the literature on this topic, we generally come across its disadvantages. We see numerous blogs and articles from intellectuals advising people to stop doing it, suggesting ways to come out of it. Well, I don’t challenge any of that. I believe that excessive thoughts are of no use unless they’re brought to action.
But I feel that the positive side or power of overthinking is relatively under-discussed. It is underrated.
“Every coin has two faces”, so let us have a look at the other side of the coin of overthinking. You may term it constructive overthinking or, in my words, over-strategizing or over-analyzing.
When you give something a long and deep thought, you come across different scenarios that the situation might escalate into. You see the situation from different angles, and if you’ve mulled over it well enough, you may come across every possible angle, the worst, the best, the most unlikely, the most likely. This way, you prepare yourself for anything that the future might have in store for you.
No one knows for sure what the future will be. Still, if you’ve analyzed all possible angles, you’ll learn all possible outcomes. In essence, you’ve seen the future, you somewhat know what’s in the store for you, this gives you a chance to contemplate, an opportunity to prepare to stay a step ahead. The prepared are always better placed to handle the situation than those who react.
Think of the weirdest, most unlikely situations, stretch your imagination. It never goes in vain. Even if that situation may never turn into reality, still thinking about such things adds a new perspective to your thought process, which better equips you to imagine things that are, in fact, likely to happen.
When you think of every possible scenario, you have a chance to contemplate your course of action in all of them, so whatever turn the road takes already know what to do to pivot the outcome to your favour. Even if you can’t handle the execution, you still know what’s coming for you, which is pretty advantageous in itself.
“Don’t fight in the North or the South. Fight every battle everywhere, always, in your mind. Everyone is your enemy, everyone is your friend. Every possible series of events is happening all at once. Live that way and nothing will surprise you. Everything that happens will be something that you’ve seen before.”
- Lord Baelish, the Littlefinger from Game of Thrones
Perhaps now you get why is Littlefinger’s picture the cover of this blog.
When you think from various angles, the worst angle might instil fear, may give you a sense of insecurity. On the other hand, the best might make you complacent, may give you a fake sense of comfort, might push you into over-optimism. Hence, over-analysis should come with control on emotions, keep your thought-process stable and execute your plan of action according to what the situation has escalated into.
With over-analysis, you essentially invite instability to your mind as you’re making yourself wander into many different directions simultaneously. So it might be a good idea to go slow at first. On a personal note, I see that instability as a plus. It motivates you to stay more stable and even more firm, making your mind tougher, something that you appreciate when the tides turn against you.
So, if you count overthinking as one of your weaknesses, try exploring the other side of it and see the power of overthinking