When the psychotherapist Milton Erickson was a boy, a very observant boy. He would become so excited about being the first one to step in the crisp morning snow that he would get up early and rush out, making a twirly whirly foot print path. He noticed that everyone would follow his route, even though it was the longest and least efficient.
I remember myself a few years back when we had a lot of snow and my dog had a vets check up. There were no buses running so we just walked, as we got near the vets (poor student using a wonderful subsidised veterinary services) we had to walk over a big concrete bridge, the one that goes over the scrap yard (if you are close by) and everyone was holding on to the bars, at the sides, walking over everyone elses old footprints that were icy, falling, slipping, scrambling.
I looked at my son and said ‘walk through the middle it is fresh snow, nobody has stood on it yet, so it will be safer, but walk slow and maybe take side steps, as you go down, repeat in your head, my feet are stable and I walk steady’
Of course we got an abundance of looks, but we got down safely and without a slip, of course a few people saw us and decided to follow, I am sure soon enough our path would have been slippy too, and the spaces inbetween the center and the sides would have been left crisp and fresh, unbothered by mans foot.
We go through our days without thinking enough, I see posts all of the time saying how ‘overthinking’ causes depression, procrastination and anxiety.
I would like to kill off this generic meme if I may.
Overthinking is not bad for you.
What you put in your mind, what you pay attention to and what you over focus on, which then becomes your auto pilot thought patterns COULD be what is bad for you.
Overthinking things is good for you, your imagination is the creator of your future, your logical thinking helps you assess situations.
In otherwords overthinking things can sometimes mean that you do not watch everone fall on their ass and then follow their lead.That you look at where it is slippy and make sure you stay on your feet.
I may look like a weirdo for literally ‘stepping’ out of the crowd, and by telling my son to ‘talk’ to his brain whilst doing so. However, I am happy to walk through fresh crisp snow, leave my own footprints and overthink the world later on.
When you fill your head with prettier things, more interesting things, more enjoyable things, then overthinking is a joy, it is a miraculous gift of nature, it is fun and it allows you to think for yourself.
The reason I point this out is because when we allow these language memes to become reality, we are telling ourselves that we do not want to think, that thinking is scary and unsafe. And you may even feel it is. Stating that overthinking is bad for you is limiting your potential, it is using language to imprison your beliefs. It is cutting off your ability to create and creating is the ability to solve problems.
When you tell yourself you do not want to solve problems because thinking and problem solving is scary, then…
Your ass is stuck.
What we say to ourselves matters.
Step up. Step out. Make your own footprints.