Overthinking it is a habit that we get in to, it’s one that proves that the world is working for us. I know a bit about this because of previous work that I have done.
I spent a long time in a past life fault finding in electronic systems to see what was happening to make it all go wrong. Notice the words there I was finding out why it was going wrong. Testing is a process that can be boiled down to this:
- Prove that the things that should happen do happen
- Prove that things that shouldn’t happen don’t happen
- Prove that when it does what it should that it doesn’t do anything else dodgy
The down side at getting good at this type of work is that you spend your days being the ultimate pessimist, putting together sequences that would demonstrate that it’s broken. I habitually had to make myself overthink the issues because that’s how to come up with proof that the system was working. However my ultimate goal was to prove that it was all working.
I had an example a few minutes ago when I thought my MP3 player was broken. It beeped so I knew it could produce sound and also that the headphones were connected correctly but it wasn’t playing songs. Even though it beeped it didn’t play songs. My mind went in to its familiar process and I found myself thinking I wonder if it’s the part of the processor that deals with MP3 decoding that’s gone wrong, I wonder if I’ve dropped it and the circuit board is cracked, what if the beep is generated by a completely different mechanism. However when I stopped myself overthinking it, I turned up the volume which had got pressed by accident when I put it in my pocket, and it all worked just fine. It’s amazing how loud the beep is though.
I remember a story called the owl babies that I used to read with my daughter. The owl babies sat on their branch waiting for Mum to come home with food and the owl babies took it in turn to create more and more bad reasons why Mum wasn’t home yet. Then she came home and the world was back to it’s right place.
Lots of us learn to work out issues for ourselves through our lives and too many of us have learnt to come up with real worst case scenarios as what is going to happen to us. They rarely happen though. Although I don’t subscribe to the maxim that if you think it then it will happen I do recognise that it’s not healthy to dwell there. Having one eye on the worst case is OK as long as you explore the brighter side, the one where you are given a promotion and not the sack, the one where you get a pay rise and not have your hours reduced. The people who are confident that they can deal with whatever comes up have a much better time because they don’t waste it on the catastrophes. You know what it feels like to overthink the dark side. Do yourself a favour today when you are getting thoughtful start to investigate the good things that might happen. What if the train is on time and we get to where we’re going in good time to get a good seat. What if it is only a cough. Also when you go to the light side, it isn’t tempting fate if you really notice how good it feels for something to go right. And start to dwell on all the times that things have gone right. Become aware of the good things that happened today.
So what will you do if you do win the lottery tonight?