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There are people who know how to flow, who face problems as soon as they appear and find solutions quickly. It’s not that life smiles at them or they have more luck than the rest of the mortals, they’re only proactive and don’t leave for tomorrow what they can do today.
On the contrary, others complicate their lives unnecessarily, they get stuck analyzing the problem or looking for solutions. They have a hard time getting out of the hole where they fell in because they have what we might call “mental overweight”. These people give too many turns to problems, analyze every detail of the possible solutions and postpone indefinitely the decision until they’re with their back against the wall. This generates an emotional and cognitive overload that can become exhausting.
Types of thinking that complicate our lives
1. Planning pending tasks that you really don’t need to do
We are often overloaded with commitments or tasks that are not necessary. The problem is that when we begin our internal dialogue with the words “I need” the alarm is activated to give priority to that presumed need. That can make us prioritize things that aren’t necessary and postpone those that are really essential. In this way we keep busy in more or less insignificant tasks while important things stay in the background and accumulate. As a result, it’s not strange that we end up exhausted and stressed, with the feeling that we haven’t taken advantage of the day.
Solution? If you don’t want to complicate your life unnecessarily, make sure in your list there’re only true priorities. Analyze all your “I need”. Maybe you could change them with words like “I want”, “I would like” or “I prefer”. This semantic change will help you bring up other things that are really important and are worth spending your time and energy.
2. Looking for the perfect solution
Looking for the perfect solution is one of the most common mistakes that keep us trapped in the vicious circle that created the problem around us. In our mind, we explore different alternatives, but we don’t decide on any because we see failures or possible risks everywhere. The fear of making mistakes feeds a constant flow of ideas that ends up confusing and paralyzing us. So, instead of looking for solutions to the problem, we find problems for the solutions. We find a fault to each idea. This situation overloads us cognitively and ends up leaving us exhausted.
Solution? You must assume that there’re dozens of solutions, many of which are perfectly valid. Reflecting before making a decision is smart, thinking too much about decisions is not. It’s just a way to complicate your life. Therefore, internalize that there’re no perfect solutions, guaranteed and 100% free of risk.
3. Having found a good solution, but not implementing it
As unlikely as it may seem, sometimes we can get stuck in the “theoretical phase”, without moving into action. It often happens to people suffering from depression or to procrastinators. These people can know which way to go, they have found the solution to the problem, but they don’t implement it. As a result, they get caught in the problem, which wears them down more and more. This behavior can be due to multiple causes, but it’s usually explained by the fear of leaving the comfort zone, an area in which we may not feel well, but it brings us the security of the known.
Solution? Assume that the first step will not get you where you want to go, but at least it will get you out of where you are. If you’re afraid to make a decision, just take small steps. You always have the option to go back and take another path. Remember that sometimes the road is not straight but full of curves and setbacks. Even so, it’s better to move than to stay paralyzed suffering a situation that is damaging you.
4. Becoming obsessed with the consequences of the decisions and with what the others will think
Thought is a very powerful tool that allows project ourselves to the future to avoid possible damages. However, it’s also a double-edged sword that generates incessant worries that take away our tranquility. One of the main mistakes that keep us stuck and complicate our lives is thinking continuously about the implications of our decisions, almost always foreseeing the most negative consequences we can imagine. In fact, many fear how the others will react or what they’ll think of them. The fear of social judgment keeps them trapped.
Solution? Making decisions is the art of choosing paths and dealing with uncertainty. That means; since we can only travel one road, we must forget about the rest. All the decisions you make will always have consequences. You’ll always have to give up something and you can never be completely sure of the implications of the steps you take. Still, if you want to keep growing, you must move. And that means making decisions. Assume that you cannot control the reactions of the others and that it’s likely your decision doesn’t please everyone. Still, it’s your decision. It’s your life, and you decide.
5. Inventing obstacles
It may seem a contradiction, but we often invent obstacles on our way to avoid making a decision that scares us. In fact, it’s the most common strategy to complicate life unnecessarily. For example, we say we cannot make the decision without first consulting a person who’s not available or with whom we have a bad relationship. Or we say we cannot decide until we have more information, knowing that it will never be enough because it’s impossible to minimize uncertainty. In those cases, instead of dedicating our time and energy to finding solutions, we dedicate ourselves to invent obstacles. As a result, we’ll feel trapped in a dead-end labyrinth that we built ourselves.
Solution? It’s not necessary that you create more obstacles than those created by life itself. If you feel stuck even though you already found a solution, ask yourself what you’re afraid of. There, is the answer to the obstacles that you’re creating so as not to take the next step. You can take advantage of this situation to grow facing your fears.