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Overthinking is the art of solving problems you don’t have

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Andy Black

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My goodness but many of you sure do over-complicate things.

Do the first thing first.

Stop worrying about the next problem and the 10 imagined problems after that.



It’s only as you step over one hurdle that the next actual hurdle reveals itself. And it’s likely not the one you thought it would be.

This is *normal*.

Understand that hurdles are just stepping stones in disguise, and your path only reveals itself as you put one foot in front of the other.


...

Here’s a thread I created years ago. I urge you to watch all three videos in it.

And here’s some threads in a similar vein:
 

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LuckyPup

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This has been a BIIIIIIIG problem of mine! Perfect reminders for me as I kick off 2019!
 

Almantas

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I think one of the reasons why I personally overthink things is because of how I wired my brain. I see every task I do as related to my identity and perceive each suggestion for improvement as my personal imperfection of sorts. It kind of feels like finally building enough courage to approach a girl and being rejected, because I am not tall enough - therefore, I take all precautions necessary and it usually results in hours of wasted time brainstorming all sorts of different scenarios.
 
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Andy Black

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I think one of the reasons why I personally overthink things is because of how I wired my brain. I see every task I do as related to my identity and perceive each suggestion for improvement as my personal imperfection of sorts. It kind of feels like finally building enough courage to approach a girl and being rejected, because I am not tall enough - therefore, I take all precautions necessary and it usually results in hours of wasted time brainstorming all sorts of different scenarios.
Very good point. Thanks for having the courage to share.

You likely hit the nail on the head about why people procrastinate and suffer from perfectionism. They fear shipping, because they see it as a personal rejection if the market doesn’t like it.

What if you view everything you release as a test?

“Hmmm... I wonder if visitors to this simple page will actually contact my plumber client?”

“I wonder if anyone will buy my course if I release it?”


I’ve deliberately created a few progress threads to show how I don’t (or try not to?) care about where I am at the start. I just start where I am and keep going. Those threads include me going round in circles and then making progress, to go around in circles again.

Maybe check out the “AndyTalks Progress Thread” or my paid email newsletter one?
 

RazorCut

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What if you view everything you release as a test?

“Hmmm... I wonder if visitors to this simple page will actually contact my plumber?”

“I wonder if anyone will buy my course if I release it?”

This was just what I was thinking. Treat everything as an experiment.

I keep telling my Son; 'there is no such thing as failure, only feedback'.

He has had one business failure and it is holding him back from trying again.

We all suffer fears of failure, of being seen by our peers as less than we had hoped. None of us are impervious to our human failings. We can however pre-emptive those feeling by recognising them and removing the fear in the first place.

My friends and family have questioned why I gave up a successful business to build another one. I tell them it was only meant to be a temporary business that lasted longer than I had anticipated as I enjoyed it so much.
However I really want something more scalable with less daily input.

The important part is I tell them that I don't know if the new business will work. It's an experiment. I think it has a good chance but won't know for sure until it is up and running. Worst case scenario is it won't be profitable enough so I'll just have to dust off the old business to bring in an income again and try something else.
 

ZF Lee

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Here's what I do now to overcome my overthinking (some insights borrowed from Dalio's Principles):

1. Write the stuff from my worried brain down. Who knows, they may be great ideas or hypotheses

2. Come up with 1 or more possible steps to deal with these assumptions. Are they true? If true, is it conditional? Within what conditions? What can I do about it? Have I heard of any similar problems or solutions before? If not, where can I find them?

3. Do the steps. Learn on the run, if needed. Do the ones that I can do in the next few hours or days.

4. If I left some of the 'overthoughts' out due to lack of space within a set period of time, lets say 4 days, I'll look at it again and probably I might find it less important to pursue.

The last few days on my progress thread was like that. Shit suddenly went from 0 mph to 120m ph...
 
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Andy Black

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Here's what I do now to overcome my overthinking (some insights borrowed from Dalio's Principles):

1. Write the stuff from my worried brain down. Who knows, they may be great ideas or hypotheses

2. Come up with 1 or more possible steps to deal with these assumptions. Are they true? If true, is it conditional? Within what conditions? What can I do about it? Have I heard of any similar problems or solutions before? If not, where can I find them?

3. Do the steps. Learn on the run, if needed. Do the ones that I can do in the next few hours or days.

4. If I left some of the 'overthoughts' out due to lack of space within a set period of time, lets say 4 days, I'll look at it again and probably I might find it less important to pursue.

The last few days on my progress thread was like that. sh*t suddenly went from 0 mph to 120m ph...
This is interesting.

From point 1... my brain isn’t worried. I’m confident in my ability to figure it out when I get to it. Do you think that makes a difference?
 

ZF Lee

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This is interesting.

From point 1... my brain isn’t worried. I’m confident in my ability to figure it out when I get to it. Do you think that makes a difference?
Haha I used 'worried brain' to describe my mind when I get into bouts of overthinking.

Of course confidence makes tremendous a difference. We need confidence to do all things, including dealing with the overthinking issue.
 
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Andy Black

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(Blimey... I forgot I’d even created this thread!)

What problems are you trying to solve that you don’t have at the moment?
 
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Andy Black

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The video in this post seems appropriate. Solve one problem at a time, and make it the one in front of you.
 

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ants

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This is great thread guys! Very helpful insights indeed.

My initial thoughts are that deep down we are looking for control for outcomes in order to avoid failure/pain at the goal. Like you say, deal with the first obstacle then the next. What I have found though, in my head anyway, is I'll accept that but then think 'well whats the point in putting energy in dealing with the first problem if the second or third isn't solvable or would make you pivot so that solving the first problem is now irrelevant. But you have invested time and energy so that is essentially wasted. I think trying to be efficient also plays a role so you try and plan the most efficient execution. So you try and plan and plan and over think. Its a very frustrating situation especially from engineering background (as in your video Andy) as I'm used to foreseeing problems as part of the design cycle and putting in plans to overcome these before they happen.
 
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Andy Black

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This is great thread guys! Very helpful insights indeed.

My initial thoughts are that deep down we are looking for control for outcomes in order to avoid failure/pain at the goal. Like you say, deal with the first obstacle then the next. What I have found though, in my head anyway, is I'll accept that but then think 'well whats the point in putting energy in dealing with the first problem if the second or third isn't solvable or would make you pivot so that solving the first problem is now irrelevant. But you have invested time and energy so that is essentially wasted. I think trying to be efficient also plays a role so you try and plan the most efficient execution. So you try and plan and plan and over think. Its a very frustrating situation especially from engineering background (as in your video Andy) as I'm used to foreseeing problems as part of the design cycle and putting in plans to overcome these before they happen.
Yes. I’ve been thinking about this today. When I was in IT there seemed to be two types of specialists: developers and support. I was in support. We still had to ensure systems keep running so we’re meticulous with our implementation plans, change management, release management, etc. But at the end of the day when a system fell over we had to get it up as quick as possible. Thinking ahead was good, but we had to move fast as well. Developers in that environment were very uncomfortable. I thrived in that environment. I’m trying to figure out what the difference was.
 

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Really interesting thread indeed. I've been an overthinker my whole life and hopeless procrastinator.

I recently found out that my sense of self relies too heavily on how others perceive me. So instead of navigating from within I instead let other people's expectations steer me. This means there are times when I would rather do nothing at all than be rejected or look like a failure. Overthinking is a perfect way for me to procrastinate because I can justify it as planning, optimising, strategising and some other fancy action-faking BS business term.

Then there is the jealousy and envy and comparing yourself to everyone's perfect accomplishments, awards and new successful business.

One of the reasons I procrastinated so much is because if you never try you never fail so you can tell yourself I would have done it if I tried but of course it is BS.

Fortunately this part of myself has never been the true me. It's a defense mechanism or shell I built up at some point in my life. I am now working on taking it off by putting myself out there and being open and honest.

I am learning to live my life from within, not to be in control of everything but instead to follow my path.

My biggest problems right now are overcoming my self-doubt , my introverted nature, my 'victim' story so I can put myself out there and start following my vision.

One thing that is helping me with overthinking is telling myself I need to be a finisher. That way I'm not creating these open ended goals that could easily take a lifetime to complete.

@Andy Black - thanks for the great content - I def over-indulged this morning
 
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Andy Black

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Really interesting thread indeed. I've been an overthinker my whole life and hopeless procrastinator.

I recently found out that my sense of self relies too heavily on how others perceive me. So instead of navigating from within I instead let other people's expectations steer me. This means there are times when I would rather do nothing at all than be rejected or look like a failure. Overthinking is a perfect way for me to procrastinate because I can justify it as planning, optimising, strategising and some other fancy action-faking BS business term.

Then there is the jealousy and envy and comparing yourself to everyone's perfect accomplishments, awards and new successful business.

One of the reasons I procrastinated so much is because if you never try you never fail so you can tell yourself I would have done it if I tried but of course it is BS.

Fortunately this part of myself has never been the true me. It's a defense mechanism or shell I built up at some point in my life. I am now working on taking it off by putting myself out there and being open and honest.

I am learning to live my life from within, not to be in control of everything but instead to follow my path.

My biggest problems right now are overcoming my self-doubt , my introverted nature, my 'victim' story so I can put myself out there and start following my vision.

One thing that is helping me with overthinking is telling myself I need to be a finisher. That way I'm not creating these open ended goals that could easily take a lifetime to complete.

@Andy Black - thanks for the great content - I def over-indulged this morning
This post might help.
 

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