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Overthinking It

Overthinking it.  This seems to be a very popular phrase these days. I don’t know when it really caught fire, but you hear it all the time now. I understand the sports analogy of paralysis by analysis. But for the rest of life, I’m not so sure. I double checked the root words:

o·ver  (vr) adj

1. In addition or excess; in surplus: lots of food left over…

think  (thngk) v. thought (thôt), think·ing, thinks v.tr.

1. To have or formulate in the mind: Think the matter through

2. a. To reason about or reflect on: To ponder

b. To decide by reasoning, reflection: Thinking what to do.

So it seems to me that overthinking it would mean an abundance of thoughtfulness. Or to be more literal, an excessive amount of pondering, reasoning and reflection.

There are studies on overthinking. Relient K has a Overthinking It song.  There are even self-help programs for overthinkers.

When I worked with BD  kids, the schools were loath to label anyone. Regardless of what was in their records, we were always told: he falls somewhere on the autistic spectrum.

When you work on-call with rotating students, like I did, it mattered if my 4th grader had Tourette Syndrome (which isn’t even an autistic disorder) or Aspbergers or hated to be touched.

It didn’t matter because it altered their value, it mattered because it altered my approach. The schools were consumed with political correctness. I understand the stigma that can be associated with labels. I also know we can be so concerned about not offending that we’re not helping.

I think about the things I’ve said and done and the things I’ve heard and have seen, in person and on the news. I don’t see a lot of overthinking. For the most part, I’d say we’re underthinking it: saying the first thing that comes to mind, talking without thinking at all or assuming we know someone else’s heart and jumping in with advice or exhortation.

Overthinking it seems to be the new pc word for an entire family of behaviors from procrastinating and ruminating to an unwillingness to forgive, the fear of disapproval and a general lack of consideration and compassion.

I could be wrong. Maybe I’m overthinking it.

Of course, there are exceptions. This might be overthinking it just a little:


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