Are you constantly caught in the cycle of overthinking, unsure of when to take action and make your dreams a reality? Do you wonder how much time you should spend pondering versus actually doing? In this article, we will delve into the art of knowing when to stop thinking and start doing. We will explore the significance of planning, the dangers of excessive contemplation, and practical steps to convert your goals into tangible achievements.
Table of Contents
What is thinking?
It’s the process of considering or reasoning about something. Thinking is reflecting on what tasks should be carried out. Thinking or more appropriately planning, here, is the first and the most basic step in the process of achieving your goal in life. Everybody has certain goals to achieve in their lives. These goals may include learning a new language, eating healthier and losing weight, becoming a better version of themselves, saving more money, and so on.
The allure of perpetual planning
All these require planning regarding how to achieve them, how much approximate time it should take, and also a rough sketch of how to tackle any problem that may arise in the process. Thinking about whether your goal is realistic and achievable and planning throughout the process is essential, but one must know when to stop planning and actually start working towards achieving them or when to start executing the plans.
Learning as a procrastination tool
“A change in human disposition or capability that persists over a period of time and is not simply ascribable to processes of growth.” — From The Conditions of Learning by Robert Gagne
Learning plays a valuable role in our personal development. However, it can sometimes become an excuse to avoid taking action on our goals. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, reading books on effective weight-loss strategies can give a false sense of progress without actively engaging in the necessary actions.
The danger lies in mistaking motion for action. We may convince ourselves that we are making progress by continuously acquiring knowledge when in reality, we are merely spinning our wheels. Learning is a valuable tool, but it should not transform into a form of procrastination.
The gap between knowledge and progress
In many cases, the planning and thinking process becomes overly elaborate, assuming that lack of knowledge or information is the primary barrier to progress. However, knowledge does not always yield new results, especially when the goal is to make tangible progress rather than acquiring additional information. The key difference lies in understanding that learning is not synonymous with practicing, but practicing always involves learning.
How To Stop Thinking And Actually Start Doing
Step 1: Begin With a Basic Essential Thinking
The first step will always be to do a moderate amount of thinking or planning for that reference, which includes thinking about your goal, whether it’s realistic or not, estimating the possibilities regarding the time that might be required to achieve it and getting a rough sketch about the obstacles that might come in the way, knowing all the possible methods on how to achieve it along with a deep analysis of all its pros and cons etc. However, once all this is well thought and analyzed, one must move on to the next step.
Step 2: Gather Relevant Information
The second step would be to gather information or knowledge about your goal. But this information should be strictly relevant and should not distract one from the actual goal. For example- if your goal is to get a specific job or to crack an examination, you must be well aware with all the requirements regarding that job or examination which may include the qualifications, experience, any recommendations etc.
Imagine a situation where you work really hard to get a job but couldn’t crack it because you weren’t aware that it required a particular degree and hence you were underqualified for it. In such a situation, all your efforts might go in vain. Hence gathering information or knowledge is essential. It could be from books, articles, blogs, videos or even someone’s personal experience which by the way gives great insight.
Step 3: Take The Risk!!
Everything comes with a risk and you got to take this risk. Even after you’ve done your due diligence and something looks promising, you’ll experience the moment of hesitation — the one that kills 99 percent of dreams. There’s an equal percentage of possibility of happening or non-happening of an event.
Whenever you are in doubt about whether to take a “risky” action or not, just ask yourself “why not?”. Attempt to persuade yourself that there are no valid reasons to deter you from making an earnest attempt. There is a possibility that you might fail, but also, there’s a similar possibility of passing with flying colors. This will ensure that later in life, you are never really regretting that you didn’t try.
Step 4: Execute!!
The last and probably the easiest step after following all the above ones is to execute what we planned. This is the most important step because all the above steps are useless if you don’t execute actions necessary for the success of your goal.
The Power of Practicing
Active practice is a form of learning. While practicing, we tend to fail or make mistakes which are great insights into the process of learning. Moreover, practicing is the only way to make relevant and meaningful contributions to our knowledge.
“Progress is a natural result of staying focused on the process of doing anything.” —Thomas Sterner, The Practicing Mind
The practice focuses your energy on the process. Knowing about something in detail increases your knowledge and makes your perspective wider. But at the same time, it doesn’t really help much towards achieving your goal until and unless you don’t take action regarding your knowledge. When you begin to direct your focus toward practicing better habits day-in and day-out, continual progress will be the logical outcome. It is not the things we learn nor the dreams we envision that determine our results, but rather the habits that we practice each day.
So, the question is “Is passive learning useless?” Not at all. Learning without acting is great when you want to gain knowledge about something. Reading a book which is an obvious example of passive learning is a great source of earning information. But it isn’t progressive in terms of an actual change physically. The main point of this article is that learning by itself does not lead to progress. Learning should not be used as an excuse for not actually doing something. Spend less time passively learning and more time actively practicing. Stop thinking and start doing.