Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thinking too much

I do that all the time. That's why my blog's called 'Thought Center'. I read between the lines. In fact I read only between the lines, allowing my wild and vivid imagination to think up things that perhaps are so convoluted that only a martian could conjure up such tactics! Nevertheless, what I've noticed with people is that this 'overthink' results in a certain idea or viewpoint. And this viewpoint then becomes a religion. A religion that has to be protected at all costs. Guarded and upheld with one's life. The viewpoint then becomes so deeply ingrained that one could perhaps go out with their swords and off with the opponent's head! The viewpoint becomes one with the viewpoint holder and an opposition to the viewpoint then becomes a direct affront to the individual. And this can be harsh!

I remember one of my favorite profs once mentioning - 'In marketing people would tell you to go where no one has ever gone before. But stop to think whether no one has gone there before because there is a strong enough reason to not go there ever!' Yet another one of my fave profs said, "stop thinking beyond what is necessary. If there is a question, it is a plain question, set with the intention of exacting a straight answer. Contrary to what you may think, I get no pleasure by playing trick or treat with you guys!" So overthinking clearly is treading where no one has ever gone before and no one has gone there before because the place (in this case scenario I am imagining) is just a figment of my imagination! And imagining improbable what-if scenarios is akin to trick-or-treating! Besides, the strong adherence to a viewpoint, also reinforces a form of confirmation trap. I have an idea that I believe in. You present a contrary viewpoint, but I reject it since I am looking to prove my point. Any disconfirming evidence is actually not paid attention to! I just want to pick and choose information that buttresses my viewpoint!

So moral of the story - it does not pay to think too much. No matter how much one tries to second guess another human being or try to comprehend what is happening inside that person's black box called brain, the margin of error in the prediction is still going to be 50%. Since at the end of the day, unpredictability thy name is mankind! So don't ever waste time thinking and overthinking something. Some things are best tackled by rules of thumb and Bayesian probability!!!

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