The Danger of Overthinking

I’ve just started listening to Mel Robbins latest audiobook, ‘Take Control of Your Life’ and though I’m only about 40 minutes into chapter one, she’s speaking to me! 

Following an interview with Dan, a PE teacher with an interest in opening up a wine bar – a guy who is paralysed by overthinking and fears about the future – Mel talks more generally about what we do when we feel anxious, afraid or uncomfortable; times which are usually characterised by a loss of control.

For many of us, myself included, when we feel this loss of control, we begin overthinking. We make plans and write out goals. All of which, I know, seems harmless enough… fun even, if you’re a self-help nerd like me.

The problem is that this kind of overthinking isn’t harmless. It’s incredibly dangerous.

Because as I can testify to, with decades of overthought experience behind me, when we obsess about thinking and making plans, it feels like we’re making progress; it feels like we’re taking back control.

As Mel points out though, “it’s actually the opposite. The only thing that will give you control is the thing that you’re scared to do. And that’s taking action.

Action is a physical commitment to something. Action is movement. Action is where you literally take ownership over your own existence.”

Thinking about something and doing something are very different things. Certainly, when I think about my own life and the times that I’ve actually achieved goals and smashed down barriers, it’s been down to the action I’ve taken…not the thinking and planning and ruminating and worrying that preceded them.

In fact, more often than not, this kind of overthinking sapped my energy to the point where I never even got going.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t think about your goals. Personally, I find that I become a little lost if I don’t have an idea of where I’m striving towards. But my daily focus these days is on action – small steps that I can achieve day by day, that will take me a little closer to my big goals.

If you take nothing else from here, it’s this:

Less thinking. More doing.




  1. Analysis by over-thinking is rarely any more accurate or beneficial than running on your gut feeling. But if one is going to do it, spend eighty percent of your time focusing on the opportunities of tomorrow rather than the problems of yesterday.


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