Sep 13, 2010

You think too much...

Do you hear this all too often? What prompts people to say it to another and what might they actually mean?

Granted, in a lot of cases, those sharing the wisdom mean it in a pretty one dimensional way – thinking takes energy and resources, the results are not always great, so just stop wasting your energy.
To illustrate the case look at pic. 1

Not thinking <------------------0----------------------> Thinking

pic. 1

This approach does not resonate with me, probably because I perceive thinking as “good” and I am too greedy to just give up something good because somebody tells me to do so.

However, there is another way to look at the meaning of “thinking too much” – and that is to take it three dimensional (pic. 2)

Pic. 2

In this case, an astute observation of “You are thinking too much” can be translated as “You are going one dimensional and are disproportionally low on the other two”.

Am I over thinking? :)


  1. You mathematical and programming background hit you back once again - is it possible to deconstruct feelings and thinking? But yes, in my opinion, there is no such thing "as too much thinking" - in 99% of the life situations people just do not think.

  2. Irina - I get this comment thrown at me all the time. It's usually meant as kind of a soft put down or disguised negative criticism. It's a typical response people have when they need a problem solved but are presented with a solution that seems more complex than what they are capable of dealing with at the time. That doesn't mean it necessarily is more complex, but that they are looking for quick & simple answer because they don't want to spend the time to actually think about it themselves. It seems to me to be an artefact of living in a world where increasingly everyone has an attention deficit disorder of some kind or another whether they would admit to it or not.

    I think the solution to operating in that world is to do the Malcolm Gladwell thing and thin-slice every person you meet and every situation you encounter. Regardless of whether you are right or wrong in any given circumstance, the efficiency gained in providing answers to people will mean you can fail or get it wrong faster and move on. Over time you may eventually get things right more often by seeing patterns and building intuition, but now one will ever accuse you of thinking too much.

  3. @leo - I am finally trying to put my analytical skills to a good use, that it to compliment my people skills and inuition :). (NOT to replace them - Oy Vey!:).

    Looks like we are in agreement on is no such thing "as too much thinking" , and re 99% of non thinking situations... This is a topic for a whole new musing, I guess...

  4. @Jeremy - I hear you. Often times people simply want miracles, which is very human of us, isn't it?
    I'd be the first one to sign up for it :).

    Gladwell approach is interesting - I have not met that many people who implemented it in real life, so if you have some insights to share I'd appreciate it.

  5. @ Jeremy: Yes, "thinking too much" is just creating a fictious problem out of nowhere, like, making a project out of a simple action.Does not the following course of actions work better: 1) think a little whether thinking too much is worth it (i.e. "pick your battles" concept); 2) decide which approach is beneficial; 3) implement correct approach despite your usual personal preferences.