Don’t Think In Your Head
March 31, 2023
I am confused- I don’t know what to do.
It is futile- I don’t think this will work.
How do I decide what the right decision is?
We feel stuck when our mind is overwhelmed with any issue or challenge. We become unsure, wondering what to do.
I have a simple Mantra to deal with confusion and uncertainty.
Don’t think in your head. Think on paper.
Here’s how I think on paper. It involves five steps.
- I do a mind dump in my journal. I grab my journal and write down everything that is going on in my head – What is bothering me, the risks I see, the fears I feel, the assumptions I am going with, the opinions I have, etc. I see everything going on in my head and capture it all on paper.
- Then, as a next step, I read what I have written down and start isolating those points I have some control over doing something.
- As a third step, for each of the points I have isolated, where I have some agency to do something, I start penning down specific actions I could take to deal with the issue. I write down possible choices.
- Step number four-From all those choices I have written down, I isolate the top two or three actions I WILL or COULD take.
- Finally, I go ahead and take action without worrying too much about how the outcomes will be.
Thinking in the head is very inefficient. Our mind is a noisy concoction of thoughts, feelings, emotions, beliefs, and biases, all happening at the same time. It is this mental noise that manifests as confusion and uncertainty, leading to a sense of overwhelm and stress. Therefore, when you put down your thoughts on paper, it’s like you are transferring the noise from your mind onto the paper and, in the process, creating space for clarity to emerge.
It is a superpower to have the mental clarity to know what to do at any given moment. I see many people with a high degree of mental clarity, and almost all of them are practitioners of thinking on paper.
When you think on paper, you free your mind to create, explore, and discover new possibilities. Writing down your thoughts is like opening the door to mental clarity and unlocking the potential for growth and transformation.