The futility of thinking
Okay, let me make it clear. Thinking is not all a waste of time. Just mostly.
Rational thought is a useful tool. It’s one of many we have at our disposal. But way too often, it’s elevated to a place it doesn’t belong.
“The mind is an excellent servant but a terrible master”, as the saying goes.
I have countless pages in countless notebooks and on wall-sized post-its and notes in files on my computer and mind maps, all filled with thoughts about what I should do with my life and how I can make this vision I’ve had for three years now a reality.
I’ve thought and thought and thought.
And so many times, I’ve felt like I was almost there. Just a little more tweaking, and it’s there. So close now.
And then life intervened, and I got side-tracked for a while. Lots of family drama, a move across an ocean and 9 time zones to a strange city on another continent.
And when I sat back down at the keyboard, it just rolled off my fingers. No serious thought needed. Just start typing the words that are already in my head and heart.
I remember reading something similar in “Fuck it”. Than John Parkin had tried and tried and tried to write this book. And when he finally gave up, it just sort-of wrote itself.
My experience is that life is almost always like that.
I can bank on that whenever I find myself spending an excessive amount thinking about something, the answer is always somewhere else. If I’m thinking and thinking and thinking about something about work, perhaps it’s time to take a serious look at my intimate relationship. If I’m thinking and thinking and thinking about something regarding my children, perhaps it’s time to take a look at my relationship with close friends. Or my house and how that works for me. Or my health. Or food. Or where I’m living.
Whatever it is, when I find myself in that kind of situation, the answer always without exception lies elsewhere.
So … I think that when you find yourself in a pickle, it’s because there are too many constraints, so you can’t get to where the solution really is. So you need to soften at least one of those constraints. But you’re not aware of most of the constraints, so you’re not even looking there. I think that’s what’s happening.
So while thinking can be a great tool, like a hammer, beware of when you’re really using it to avoid listening to your gut or your heart.