There are certain words and phrases that make no sense to me. I have no idea what people mean when they use them. It seems impossible that they could be valid words, though they are, I’ve checked. They give me an overwhelming sense of sheer ‘untidiness’.

One of those words is Overthink.

What on earth does it mean, this word? Apart from the sheer untidy messiness of the word itself, the concept it seeks to represent is also not something I can wrap my head around.

When you use the word, I begin to imagine a fixed standard that represents ‘think’. That way, anything above that is Overthink. Its like the danger level mark associated with rivers. Below the mark you are deemed sane. Go above it and you are ready for the padded cell. Seriously?

The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four people is suffering from a mental illness. Look at your 3 best friends. If they’re ok, then it’s you.

~ Rita Mae Brown

What is the standard for human behavior? What’s normal to you maybe way below normal to me… and vice versa. How then, can you know when and where that danger mark is crossed?

For you the average (Oh, how I detest the word!) thinking might be half an hour every alternate decade. For me your average might spell a scant one hour quota. Should I then accuse you of underthinking… or (more accurately) non-thinking? Fair, isn’t it?

You see, the whole paradigm of a human average is inaccurate. You assume that my average resides outside of me. But it doesn’t! That one false paradigm has been the father of immense pain for humanity. Isn’t it time to re-examine it?

Every human being’s average is as personal as a fingerprint. It has nothing to do with the rest of humanity. Nothing. Honest.

Our capacities, appetites and hungers are not the same. You might feel you’ve have enough to eat after you’ve eaten two chapatis, another person who normally eats fifteen will feel he has just begun. Half an hour of walking may tire me out while there are those who feel they’ve just limbered up after half an hour. As they say, “Your workout is my warm up!”

One person’s craziness is another person’s reality.

~ Tim Burton

Then, there’s this: I don’t lie awake at night planning how I’ll ‘overthink’, come morning! Some of us are hard-wired to be deliberators and minute examiners. We turn things over in our mind many times before we agree to make space for them within our consciousness. Some of us shoot first and ask questions (if at all) later. The examiner can no more become a shoot-first than the shooter become a deliberator.  I can no more stop thinking than you can start it. We’re both stuck I guess. We must both do our thing, in our own messy way. Isn’t that awesome?

Live your insanity and leave those who want to be normal in the average.

~Aniekee Tochukwu Ezekiel

Perhaps, when you warn me against Overthinking, you actually wish to save me from a paralysis of analysis- a nifty phrase which means letting your deliberations scare you into a paralysis of inaction. There, I must admit, you and I would be in complete agreement. Deliberation and examination must culminate in action or in the decision to defer action since no action is feasible at that moment. But to go on agonizing, driving yourself into a debilitating frenzy with endless what might have beens, is hardly effective. Why keep immersed in what you can do nothing about? Surely there are new things to overthink?

Thinking too much leads to paralysis by analysis. It’s important to think things through, but many use thinking as a means of avoiding action.

~ Robert Herjavec

Why make the same mistakes when there are plenty of new ones just dying to be made? I will leave you with this thought. While you’ve been reading this, I’ve lured you- and held you captive- in the land of Overthinkers!

Gotcha dude! Ha ha ha!

Creative Commons Image