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Imagine that you have to make an important decision in your life: what career to study, where to buy a house, to end a relationship, to have children or not. What is your attitude towards this decision making? Are you one of those who thinks about it for a few days and then ventures hoping for the best? Or maybe you are one of those who spend months analyzing, gathering information, asking, reflecting and spending sleepless nights before announcing your final choice?

Although we have been taught that we have to have moderation before making decisions, falling into the extreme is not always good and the disadvantages of thinking too much can fall on us, leaving us stuck in inaction.

Disadvantages of thinking too much

Being analytical and reflective is helpful in making decisions. People with these characteristics usually have the ability to visualize different possible scenarios; but when these qualities become excessive, the disadvantages of thinking too much are present.

These are the main ones.

1. Anguish

Thinking too much is causing an accumulation of worries. After a new thought, a new anguish is appearing. However these thoughts and these anxieties are only in the imaginary, are possible circumstances that will occur if X or Y happens but still do not exist in the real and even then they generated fear for what might happen.

Prospecting all possible scenarios around a situation can be useful and helps to glimpse the picture and take action accordingly. The problem is that in front of each situation you can generate a concern that becomes overwhelming.

2. Excessive concern for the future

Should I choose to study medicine or law? If I choose medicine I must consider that I will spend many years in school and maybe in the end I will not find work and I will be left alone because I will not have had time to live with friends and meet someone to get married; or it can happen that I become a successful doctor and I get to earn a lot of money, but then I will have to think about moving to another city and maybe that will take me away from my loved ones. If on the other hand I am inclined to study law, it could happen that I get involved in dangerous matters when I exercise my career or that

“I can do social work and help people who need it, but then I will not have money to survive and have a family.”

In the end it is very likely that you have to decide for one race or the other, but having imagined everything that can happen has already permeated the mood filling us with doubts and concerns. Even if you opt for a different profession, there will also be oversized doubts and fear because you have spent too much time thinking about what might happen.

For this reason, all the worries that are generated during the exhaustive analysis of a situation give shape to one of the disadvantages of thinking too much that people with these characteristics may face: the difficulty to put a limit on the forecasts.

3. Fall into inaction or “paralysis by analysis”

As we have seen, there are decisions that have “expiration time.” There comes a time when you have to choose.When a person who thinks too much is facing that moment, he may be inclined to choose one of the many that he thought, And even with doubt or fear or tormenting about whether it will be the best choice, in the end you will have to have made a determination.

But there are situations that do not require a specific date or time to act. There is no external social pressure, and even if there is, it can be postponed in some way. Even situations in which it is precisely analyzed if it should or should not be carried out. In these cases the decision making can be extended as infinite scenarios and concerns and anguish appear for what may happen.

It is in this inaction where creative, family and professional projects are truncated. That business that excites us but we are not sure it works, we leave it suspended in the form of hypotheses, and we lose ourselves in vague ideas that we think and think without reaching anything. The journey we have dreamed of for years but we do not know if we can make it. Moving to that city or country that always makes us excited and where they have offered us work but in which we are not sure that we will adapt…

Although the action must be accompanied by reflection, we must be very careful not to fall into the disadvantages of thinking too much that leave us paralyzed and without taking action.

For these reasons we must understand that the establishment of plans is only one phase of the process, and stop there too long can bring us more frustration and anguish than the satisfaction of giving action to our thoughts to give way to learning and experience that gives us take out our plans.

4. Perfectionism and exacerbated self-demand

It is also good to recognize that thinking too much is also good. It is useful for the planning phase of any project, it is enriching in the debate of ideas, in the structuring of critical thinking, the analysis of proposals … obviously in the elaboration of hypotheses and investigations and in everyday life itself have a wide panorama of possible scenarios, is of help in decision making.

The problem of thinking too much is when this is combined with fear, perfectionism and self-demand, leaving us unable to finalize an election and postponing for no other reason than “I’m still thinking” because there is no date that borders us to have a result. In addition, excessive perfectionism can significantly damage self-esteem.

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