Overthinking

Left a good job in the city,
Working for The Man every night and day,
And I never lost one minute of sleeping,
Worrying ’bout the way things might have been.

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As mentioned before in my blogs, life is random and nothing is really 100% guaranteed. There may be things that have high probabilities of happening such as the Sun raising again tomorrow or the moon continually its orbiting around our Earth, but even these things are not absolute. A comet can hit our Sun or Earth and blow everything up tomorrow or aliens might wipe our planet and its inhabitants for their highway (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

So how does this relate to us as humans? In our lives, we have to constantly make choices. Some decisions can be major such as choosing the college we go to or as minor as what to eat for breakfast. And in every decision, we analyze the situation and make the most informed decision based on the facts provided to us at the time. The decision making process should stop here. Right? Wrong. Often time, even after we make the decision, we question whether our decision was correct. When buying something, this is often called buyer’s remorse, which is the regret of purchasing something. This remorse can come from a big ticket item such as a house or car to something so small such as a pencil if we later find out there was a better offer somewhere else. We agonize over our decision and lose the enjoyment of what we have purchase because we’ll keep thinking about the other what ifs. And while this may seem like the worst, it’s far from it.

Prior to actually executing our decision might be the hardest thing anyone can do. Because life is uncertain, we try to make up for this uncertainty by reading and gathering as much information as possible so that our brain can process every little factor that can and will come into play. Let’s say you’re playing fantasy football and you have two players to decide on. You may want to start a player because of certain conditions such as match up, home or away, and past performances against a certain team. But then because life is random and in football, any player on any given day can either blow up or give you a goose egg. So what do you do? You stress and agonize over your decision, make changes based on this input or that input and once the game starts, you throw your hands up and hope for the best. The joy of fantasy is lost and you’re hoping that you made the right decision. If you made the wrong decision and your player underperforms, you blame yourself and have a bad day. So is there no solution? Are we forever stuck in this cycle of suffering? No. Because life is random and we can’t control everything, we must learn to give up controlling things that we cannot control.

This idea tends to be lost even when we know it. Sometimes we get stuck in an endless cycle of overanalyzing this or that that we forget that we’re not gods and only human. We forget that we make mistakes and we’re not perfect. In times like these, to borrow the quote from Ron Popeil and the Ronco Rotisserie Oven infomercial, the best thing to do in this type of situation is to “set it and forget it.” In life, sometimes we just need to roll the dice and go with it. And more often than not, life generally works out for the better. You might just not recognize it right away.

Author: Nhan Le

By way of Anaheim, CA.

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