There’s a saying which has been making my irritable bowel grumble more aggressively than normal. That’s right, it’s giving me the irrits.
I hear it a lot. “Don’t overthink it, Wayne,” they’ll say.
Like most things, we need to throw some context around it.
If I’m on the bowling green, requiring a peach of a delivery to win the match, I’ll inspect the options, think things through and carefully calculate the best way to pull off a stunning display of athleticism never before seen on the local artificial lawns.
I’ll then take my time wandering back to my starting position. I’ll put my feet in what I feel is the best possible position, and think about the swing that will provide me the speed of delivery that will incur premium result.
It’s a process.
Then, just as the head clears and everything starts to come together, a drunkard from the gallery screams: “Don’t overthink it, Wayne!”
He didn’t overthink his advice. Didn’t overthink whatever made him ascertain 13 schooners would be more beneficial than an afternoon on the green. Didn’t overthink who he’d be doing it with either, just quietly.
What he meant to say was, “Hurry the blazers up, Wayne.”
After a cool towel and a three-shot loss, it got me thinking.
Is there ever a situation when someone genuinely means well when they suggest not to overthink things. Because to think things through is wise. It’s an astute tactic to life.
Rarely lets you down because it’s the way you make sound decisions – not putting the knife in the toaster, paying one’s bills on time, not wearing thongs while climbing a ladder.
I had a supervisor along my career path who used to say it. “Don’t overthink it, Wayne.” His too was a rustle on, but different to the boredom provoking spectators at the club.
His was encouraging me to give less of a damn. “It’s just a job, Wayne. Get on with it. Doesn’t matter if you mess it up.” That’s what he meant.
It annoyed me then. Annoys me now that someone with such apathy could make their way up the promotional ladder, drinking his way into the pockets of similarly passive dullards.
But I digress.
Allow me to say that “thinking” is a good thing. So why would anyone in their right mind ever want to suggest otherwise.
Unlike the bowls club buffoons, Wanda hasn’t had a drink in 30 years. She’s a smart lady, got her wits about her. Provides calculated advice which has gone through the right parts of the cerebrum. That’s right, it’s the part of the brain we think with.
So, when Wanda says, “Don’t overthink it, Wayne”, which she does at times, she has my welfare at heart.
What she means to say is, “Whatever you’re thinking about is bothering you, Wayne. Have a rest. Come back to it later.”
Unlike the overachieving boss, she’s not telling me not to think. She’s actually telling me to think more, but in a way that will achieve a fruitful outcome, solve problems, produce results.
She’s smart. So I listen.
Is that you, Wanda? Am I overthinking things again, you ask?
“No, no, just writing this week’s column.”
I’ll be taking a break now. Until next week.