Don’t Think Too Hard

The other day I was asked to moderate a talk after a play which touched on various life issues and themes, such as feminism, relationships, and stages of life. My reward was getting to go to the show for free. I love theater and I don’t go often enough, so when the option of a free ticket came up with this task of moderating, I said a quick yes. I knew I Play Panelcould do it. However, there’s a trap that we can often get caught up in, which is over-thinking choices and decisions. Had I let myself really settle in and imagine myself on stage with some panelists and the cast of the play and people in the audience watching me, I would have become anxious. I might have even started doubting myself, because of the anxiety I was feeling. It’s amazing how we can get in our own way sometimes with our fantasies of “what could happen.”

Something that has helped me over the years is really trusting that immediate gut reaction. Immediately, when I heard the offer, I knew I could handle it. Trust that. Go with it. Don’t think too hard about it. In this case, it sure wasn’t life and death. It was a talkback after a play. Of course, I am going to mention that you may be someone who feels they make spontaneous decisions a little too much, which could use a little more perculation in the brain first. Yes, there are most definitely those situations, people and opportunities that we want to thoroughly consider and think through. Here are my typical evaluation questions for whether or not I can go with my gut or sit with it before making a decision:

What’s the time commitment? Is this going to be an afternoon or 3 months? This is a logistical and factual question that we can also have a gut reaction to and will help us figure out if the opportunity is something we want. If, it’s a lengthy time commitment, that also means commitment of energy and resources. The longer the time commitment, the more time you might want to take in making a decision. Take that gut instinct and mix it with a little logic and reason and see what you get after a night’s sleep or two . . . or ten.

What’s my learning curve? Is this already within my skill set or am I going to need to do some homework? An opportunity that is a little out of our comfort zone is fantastic for our growth, so don’t reject something just because it might require googling a topic, but if you’re going to be doing major homework then we’re getting back to the idea of time and energy and resources. It may be totally worth it to you to dive into a project with a big learning curve and if so, that’s good information for you to tap into and know about yourself.

What’s my emotional reaction? Am I excited, neutral or dreading doing this? This is a great question, because many times that can give us the key to whether we want to give our resources or whether we feel obligated. Of course we all do things that we feel obligated to do, but hopefully you’re not doing too much of that or you might be headed toward burnout. If you’re excited then that’s a sign you have some energy around it!

A quick assessment with these three questions: What’s the time commitment? What’s my learning curve? What’s my emotional reaction? Will really give you a sense of whether to go with your decision or sit with your decision and be open to other reactions and information before committing. For more exploration of our quick decisions and how many times we do it unconsciously, check out Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink.

One thought on “Don’t Think Too Hard”

  1. Shana says:

    This is really useful advice that I am applying to several decisions I need to make. Thanks!

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Karin Lawson

2312 Wilton Drive, Suite 22
Wilton Manors, FL 33305

karin@drkarinlawson.com
954-336-4049