An Inkling About Overthinking
Ever feel you are thinking too much? When we can’t stay on track because other ideas keep distracting us we blame overthinking. But that’s not the problem at all.
What causes the trauma is not excess thought. Rather, it all comes down to a thought life that’s out of control.
When we become preoccupied by ideas that don’t have much to do with the situation at hand, undisciplined thinking allows every random thought to pop up and take over.
By contrast, if it was about thinking too much, we would become so engrossed in what we were doing we’d become completely absorbed in concentration. Yet, that’s not something people tend to lament.
What is a problem is the distraction factor of thoughts that appear willy-nilly, preventing us from doing what we want. That’s why, when a child is telling you something significant (to them), your mind wanders around the house, back to what happened last night, and how sore your little toe feels in those new shoes. Sure, you want to be a caring parent but your mind doesn’t just wander, it runs away.
Apart from being a terrible passion-killer, the distraction factor of flaky thinking undermines concentration and weakens our ability to accomplish results and solve our problems. That is why we need to become masters of our own thoughts.
Consider the gentle strumming of a skilled guitarist, or the champion ability of a top athlete beating the odds. Achievers doing anything worthwhile hone their craft with hundreds if not thousands of hours of dedicated practice until they make proficiency look easy.
Their focus is their number one ability. It’s not that they were necessarily gifted in the ability to be proficient at birth. They simply tamed their distracted thinking with targeted, intentional concentration.
The more you focus on a given topic, the better you get at eliminating distractions. So, by training your brain to stay on track in one area, your mind develops the ability to do the same in other areas too. That means concentrating is good for you, while multitasking just feeds absent distraction.
Bottom line: overthinking is innocent. Intrusive thinking isn’t. By consciously developing your awareness of how well you can concentrate and practicing it on things that matter (to you), you’ll be not only sharpening your abilities. You will also intensify your pleasure in things you otherwise feel too distracted to fully enjoy.
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