Richard Hart

Head of Something @ Somewhere
Kent, UK

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Thinking vs Non-Thinking

At my first Improv class, we played a game called “That’s 8 Things!”. You’re given a subject, like countries or fruits, and you have to name eight as quickly as possible. No hesitating, no stalling, say anything at all. It doesn’t matter if you repeat the same thing multiple times or say something off-topic. I was told to name pieces of furniture, and I ended up saying the word “chair” four times and even saying “shoes” at one point. Being fast was more important than being correct. Taking time to think of an answer meant stopping.

I enjoy thinking and spend a lot of my time caught up in my own thoughts. Thinking about life. Thinking about problems. Thinking about work. Taking time to think has served me well when it comes to big problems or decisions. Ensuring I was covering all my bases, exploring all the possibilities, and considering what choice would lead to the best outcome.

The downside is that too much thinking can become a blocker to getting things done. It can cause me to go over my opinions and decisions endlessly. Even thinking about whether I have thought something through enough. This manifests as procrastinating getting started on things or hesitating when contributing to conversations or meetings.

An aspect of needing to think is wanting to have the right answer. When the presence of an infinite number of variables controlling the outcome means there is no right answer. The amount of time spent thinking has diminishing returns. Going from being 50% certain about something to 60% may take double the effort it took to go from 0% to 50%. Going from 90% to 100% may take forever.

Sometimes you just have to shout “shoes”.