Do You Think Too Much?

Do you remember how, whenever he needed to figure something out, Winnie-the-Pooh would tap his temple and say, “Think, think. Think, think.” Even as a child, I found it interesting that he had to encourage his mind to think. Mine won’t stop thinking. I wish I could tap my temple and say, “Shut up. Shut up.”

More than once, I’ve been accused of “thinking too much” (about work, politics, religion, society, parenting, the arts, etc.). People give me credit for being smarter than I am, because I have crammed so much information into this head of mine. And I haven’t just developed book smarts, I’ve honed some street smarts from years of operating in a challenging field.

I’m constantly studying, learning, analyzing, experimenting, testing, developing, etc. I’m also repeatedly questioning, second-guessing, reviewing, refining, restructuring, and just plain starting over. It can be exhilarating, but also exhausting.

And with all of this thinking and questioning comes decision making. There are days, like today, when I’m sure I can’t possibly make one more decision, large or small.

I often wish there was a way to take a day off from my brain. You know, just shut it down like a computer. But it doesn’t work that way. Thoughts and worries arrive unbidden at all hours of the day and night, kind of like e-mail.

I’m learning, though, to trust my instincts even more. There are days when my thoughts spiral toward a yes for all the logical, practical, realistic reasons, but my gut tells me no. I’m learning to listen more to my gut, if only to give my brain a break.

“Any fool can know,” said Albert Einstein, one of the biggest thinkers of all time. “The point is to understand.” Funny how it has taken overthinking to teach me the value of simply trusting.

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