Stop Overthinking

Stop Overthinking – #6 Podcast of the Week

Welcome to the sixth blog post of: Podcast of the Week. Thanks for reading this post! If you have not yet: please check out the other Podcast of the Week blog posts: link. This blog post is about overthinking, specifically how to stop overthinking. I think everyone has experienced overthinking in their lives. I certainly have. It can result in delaying or stopping you from taking action. By example I have long thought about starting this blog, I was thinking about:

  • Will people read my blog posts?
  • Are the subjects interesting for the target audience?
  • What if my content is redundant?
  • Is my writing skill sufficient enough?
  • What will people think about it?
  • Do I have enough motivation to carry it on long enough?
  • How long is long enough?
  • What do I want to achieve with the blog?
  • Will it contribute enough?

Why do I recommend this podcast episode?

The questions mentioned are good points to think about, when they lead to action. But can be limiting when they lead to inaction/procrastination. In my case it lead to doubtfulness about starting a blog at all. I wanted to think out the details that are impossible to foresee. By example, I don’t know what other people will think about my blog, unless I write and publish it. It is impossible to be perfect, but one thing is certain; if you don’t start you won’t find out. Neither will you improve. In summary, I recommend this podcast because I have personal overthinking experience . The second reason is that I believe in being goal oriented, overthinking can get in they way of this. Let’s see if we can gain some new insights.

The podcast episode is an interview with Jon Acuff. He is the author of seven books, including his newest release, Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking (as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases). He is a famous speaker and has spoken to hundreds of thousands of people at conferences and companies around the world including: FedEx, Nissan, Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, Chick-fil-A, Nokia, and Comedy Central. The main theme of this books is self improvement/motivational. His mission is to help people achieve their goals. This is the underlying theme in most of this books. In this blog post we will take a close look at his view on overthinking, specifically how you can stop overthinking.

The podcast episode, the surprising solution to overthinking

Afford Anything

Once again I recommend a podcast episode from the Afford Anything Podcast. This show is run by Paula Pant. She interviews experts from many fields about decision-making, productivity, mastering your career, money and life. Her articles and podcast episodes revolve around mastering money to set yourself free, by adjusting your behaviour accordingly. The first podcast of the week blog post was about how your personality affects finances, based on an interview by Afford anything. Read it here.

What are the key takeaways?

In every podcast of the week blog post there are key takeaways. These are the most important lessons that I have distilled from the podcast episode. Yes, I have done this with help of the podcast host. She always mentions the key takeaways at the end of every interview. Episode notes by Afford Anything. The key takeaways for this blog post are sequential steps to stop overthinking.

1. Idenfity overthinking

There is a clear distinction between overthinking and preparing. Therefore it is important to first ask yourself: Am I really overthinking?. To answer this question you can see if you exhibit signs of overthinking. I have put them in a list:

  • Your first reaction to your own desire is negative from the start. The first instinct is to talk yourself out of doing something right away. This might be a sign of overthinking.
  • Work longer on a project than needed. For example, thinking for years about something but not starting. This could be a blog, investing, a side hustle, you name it.
  • Getting too far ahead of yourself. You have not started or just started. You are constantly thinking in what if scenario’s. What if Y happens, what if X happens. Even if this is 10 steps away from your current stage.
  • Do your family and friends say you are overthinking?: People close to you know what you are like, they can weigh in to determine if you are overthinking.
  • How big is your someday bucket?: You have a big list of things you want to do someday, but the list of things you are doing right now is limited.
  • Caring too much about what friends and family think: The people around you can give valuable advice. But you should not let them make decisions for you. When you start something it should be based on your intrinsic motivation. This is key to accomplish goals.
  • Imposter syndrome: Believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be.
  • Expert status: You think you need to know specific details before you start something. Making it nearly impossible to start anything.
  • Isolated negative events break your day.

The most important distinction; Intentional versus overthinking: It is good to have ideas for someday. As long as you are executing ideas now. With overthinking every idea feels some degree of stuck.

2. Retire old soundtracks

The first key takeaway helped you to determine if you are overthinking. The second one will help you retire ideas that are not serving you. Jon Acuff describes ways of thinking as soundtracks. Some soundtracks can be limiting. These soundtracks are repeated. They stop us from doing the things we want to do. To determine if you should retire a soundtrack, ask the following three questions:

  • Is it true?: The idea I am listening to.
  • Is it helpful?: Does it move me forward or hold me back.
  • Is it kind?

By example, a soundtrack could be: “I don’t know how to write a blog”. You could change this in: “I don’t know how to write a blog yet“. Don’t embrace fake it till you make it. You want soundtracks that are honest, positive and future focused.

When we don’t control our thoughts, our thoughts control us. If our days are full of broken soundtracks, thoughts are our worst enemy, holding us back from the things we really want. But the solution to overthinking isn’t to stop thinking. The solution is running our brains with better soundtracks. Once we learn how to choose our soundtracks, thoughts become our best friend, propelling us toward our goals.

John Acuff

3. Replace old soundtracks

Now you know which ideas are holding you back. Replace the old negative soundtracks with new positive ones. If you find it difficult to formulate new soundtracks, it can help to observe your actions. Then pull the thread behind your action. What was the thought that contributed to an action? If I would have thought clearly, I would have done it differently. What was the underlying thought that influenced me? This could be a series of thoughts or fear. After detecting a pattern like this you can replace it.

4. Lock the new soundtrack in place

Repeat the new soundtrack that you have selected. There are different ways to cement the new idea. It needs to be something simple that reminds you of the new soundtrack. The reasoning behind this: Old soundtracks are stronger than new ones, you have to give your new ones a fighting chance by repeating them. Here are some ways to do this, the most important requirement: it needs to be visible and simple:

  • Resonate the soundtrack, put a wallpaper on your phone with a picture that embodies it.
  • A post-it note on your desk with the soundtrack on it.
  • A bracelet with a phrase on it.

To go even further. The new soundtracks can help you create a new identity. Your new soundtracks reinforce your thoughts. Which can reinforce your identity. You want to create an identity to hold your actions against. By example: would a blogger do this?, would a consultant do this?, would an entrepreneur do this?. In conclusion, this will help you align your actions with your desired behaviour.

How does it relate to Know Act Invest?

The subject of overthinking is related to all phases of Know Act Invest. The steps described will help you to take the necessary action and invest in yourself. By identifying your soundtracks (Know), replacing them with new ones (Act) and adjust your behaviour accordingly. This will help you to start investing time/effort towards goals that matter (Invest). On the whole, I hope you find this blog post informative. If you want to stay up to date about future blog posts: check out instagram.

Thanks for taking an interest in this post, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment with feedback. This helps me to continuously improve the website.

Want to learn more about overthinking?

Then I recommend John Acuff’s book: Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking (as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases) This blog post provided you with the basic steps to transform your thoughts, to work for you instead of against you. The book will provide you with a complete plan, to transform the overthinking problem into a power.

Further reading on Stop Overthinking

Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking

Episode notes by Afford Anything