Overthinking Will Cripple You
You shouldn't follow every idea that flits into your head. Most of the time, what may seem like a ‘burst of genius’ is actually just a naïve burst of excitement. When you look into the idea more, you begin to discover not only that it is much more challenging than you first imagined, but also that you have a lot of competitors who have been learning about the topic for much longer than you.
Important ideas need to be researched (heavily) before you can justify digging in for the long haul. After all, if ‘your’ idea was so drop-dead amazing everyone else would be swarming towards it, cluttering the space and therefore making it a not so drop-dead amazing idea.
Knowing about your field is of course necessary before taking action. If you don’t know what WordPress is, then it will be pretty challenging to create a website. Knowing who your competitors are is also important. But when does acquiring knowledge become detrimental? When do you need to stop reading books and watching Youtube videos? How can you tell when you need to just start writing, building, or making phone calls?
You need to start taking action as you stop learning facts that you can apply immediately. If you enjoy something and want to explore it more, you don't need a lot of information to take the first few steps. Be thinking about taking action as soon as possible. You want to focus on action for two main reasons....
- Your brain learns best by taking action. Entrepreneurs don't learn to create businesses by sitting in a classroom and painters become great artists by slapping paint on a canvas, not by reading books about art.
- Actually doing something is the only way to find out if you enjoy it! I can read books about what it's like to start a business but I'll never know if its for me until I start pitching my idea to customers.
As an example, lets say you want to become an actor. You’re not 100% sure if it’s right for you but you at least want to give it a try. The big lights are exciting and besides, all the attention can be addicting once you get over the stomach butterflies.
Before you start acting, it’s probably a good idea to do a Google search on how an actor needs to practice. Maybe you should skim some techniques for conquering stage fright and learn some brain tricks to help you memorize your lines. After a short time however, doing research online isn’t going to be helpful anymore; you need to just get on stage.
Imagine if you sat in front of your computer all day learning about becoming an actor without actually getting in front of a crowd. Would researching the best way to enhance your voice inflections do you any good if you’ve never spoken in front of an auditorium? You wouldn’t have any experiences to relate the information to and most likely everything would all go over your head!
Only after actually getting on stage will you understand why certain details are given such close attention. Only after you take action will the higher-level information make sense to you. Also, imagine doing hours of research only to find that you actually hate standing in front of large crowds! You'll only learn if something is right for you in the long haul by doing it and seeing if you enjoy it.
Creating this website is another great example. The first steps involved in getting this site online were (in short)
- Buying a domain name.
- Linking that name to a hosting service.
- Installing WordPress on that domain to begin creating my site.
At first, all I knew how to do was buy a domain name. This simply took a quick visit to Godaddy.com and a debit card. When I bought this domain, I had no idea how to hook it up to a hosting service. That wasn’t a problem, however, because I was able to learn quickly with help from some online videos. When I finally got my hosting set up, I had no idea how to install WordPress. Once again, I had to watch a whole host of videos to help me through this step.
If I had learned how to download WordPress before buying my domain name the information wouldn’t have helped me. It would have been useless. I had to take action before I would be able to apply any of it!
Trust that the information you need will become available to you as you move ahead. You can never have all the facts before taking action. All you can know is what you like doing.
I hadn’t searched for any WordPress videos until I needed them, but I knew they were there waiting for me. I chose to take action without needing to get all the details of every step before beginning. Because of this, I now know how to build a rather charming website, create high quality blog posts, and launch successful campaigns on multiple platforms of social media!
For those going into acting, it’s a similar story. Aspiring movie stars don’t seek out $2,000 per hour instructional programs to improve tiny details of their voiceover technique until they are well on their way in their careers. They’ve been failing and stumbling all the way but they accept this as normal and don’t let their lack of experience in certain areas lead to stagnation!
Overthinking always leads to inaction. Inaction leads to no learning! If you spend too long speculating and not enough time taking action you destroy the perfect spiral of action followed by thinking and thinking followed by acting. This spiral is what will continually make you more and more skilled in any area. By not acting, you’re applying the breaks and keeping yourself from going anywhere.
Analysis paralysis will quite literally destroy your efforts to achieve any skill of any kind. Don’t fall victim to it! Find something you enjoy doing and just learn enough to not look like a complete fool when you get started. Then, take action. You’ll never know if you actually enjoy it until you jump in! Focus on learning only for the sake of taking action. Learning for learning’s sake alone never did much for anyone.
Thinking is only beneficial if you're going to do something with the information.