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7 Crazy Things That Over-Thinkers Can Relate To

7 Crazy Things That Over-Thinkers Can Relate To

Imagine this: You sent a text to a person that you just went out on a date with, and it said you had a great time and would love to hang out again. Then, 20 minutes later, the person replies with a smiley face :) You think, “OMG, what does that mean? It’s a smiley face, so that’s good, right? That must mean he wants to see me again too! But wait. He didn’t actually say that. Maybe he really doesn’t want to see me again and didn’t want to hurt my feelings, so he thought it was easier to say nothing and just send a smiley face. But wait. Maybe he’s just busy and didn’t have time to write anything, and he’ll write again later saying he had a good time too. But wait. If he was really interested, he would have made the time to write back even if he’s busy … But wait …”

Does this sound like you? If it does, then you just might be an over-thinker.

And here are 7 crazy things that you will be able to relate to:

1. We always make assumptions.

“She rolled her eyes at me, she must think I’m stupid.”

“He didn’t text me back for 3 hours … he must be doing that on purpose. He’s trying to blow me off!”

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“I haven’t seen my fried Mary for 3 months, and she’s probably mad at me for not calling her.”

These are assumptions. They are not necessarily based in truth. But an over-thinker’s mind makes all sorts of assumptions. That’s part of the problem. Usually, making assumptions creates more problems – and more over-thinking. Then you get caught in a nasty downward spiral. Instead, us over-thinkers should live by this rule: “DNAA” … Do Not Assume Anything. Instead, ask people for the facts. Don’t jump to conclusions.

2. We always assume the worst.

“He was supposed to be here by 5:00. It’s now 5:12. OMG what if he was killed in a car accident? I wonder who I would call to find out? What route was he driving? Let me go check the police and traffic reports online to see if everything’s okay. Oh, that’s ridiculous. He’s only 12 minutes late. Maybe he just lost track of time. But maybe he didn’t. OMG what’s wrong?!?!”

Usually, the worst doesn’t happen. Sure, it does sometimes, but if you think about it, 99% of the stuff we over-think and over-worry about doesn’t actually come to pass. So wasting so much mental energy trying figuring out why people died or were captured by an alien really doesn’t do us any good.

3. We always think in terms of “What if…”

“This guy asked me out, and I don’t really think I like him, so I’m not going to go. But what if he’s really my soul mate? If I don’t go out with him, I’ll never know! But he’s kind of short. Oh that’s stupid – am I really not going to give him a chance because of that? Oh, but what if I go out with him and he’s a bump on a log. Then I’ve wasted a few hours of my life. And if I went out with him, what would I wear? Nothing too sexy because I don’t want him to like me THAT much. But what if I really do like him, then I will want him to find me sexy….”

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There are literally infinite “what if’s” that could occur. And we imagine every little teensy tiny scenario. They drive us over-thinkers crazy! We’re afraid to make a mistake, so we think about all the things that COULD happen. So we should try to practice living in the NOW. Because that is really all we can control.

4. We always stress that we can’t control things.

“My son loves baseball. I HATE baseball. But what if he took guitar lessons and started a band? I would love that … because I love music! Oh, but I can’t take way his baseball, that would make me a bad parent. Maybe he would like football? At least that’s not boring. Oh but what if he gets a concussion and has brain damage. That would be awful. What other ways can I make sure that I don’t have to go watch boring baseball games? Oh, if only I could wave a magic wand and make things happen the way I want them to!”

We can’t control anything or anyone but ourselves. Over-thinking about how we can change things so we can be happier, or life will be better somehow, just sends us into another crazy cycle of spinning our mental wheels.

5. We are frequently wrong.

“After days of sleepless nights because of over-thinking it, I am convinced he doesn’t like me!”

“That little jerk! I’m sure he said that because of …”

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Because over-thinkers imagine SO many different possibilities and scenarios, statistically speaking, we’re often wrong with our assumptions. Because if you come up with 100 different possibilities in your head, there’s going to be a 99% chance that you are wrong – because only one of those actually WILL be right. So don’t convince yourself that you are right – or wrong. Most of the time, you will never know the truth with your own over-analyzing.

6. We get sick of our own “analysis paralysis.”

“OMG, just stop it! You’ll never figure it out.”

“I know I’m torturing myself … but I just can’t stop it!!!”

“My head hurts and I’m exhausted from thinking about this!”

Over-thinkers say these things to themselves very frequently. Running things over in our minds over and over really does lead to exhaustion! Sometimes we really wish there was an “off switch” in our brains so we can stop. When this happens, try thinking about something else. Or doing something else. It really can distract you and calm you down.

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7. We seek other people’s opinions to help us over-think (or help us stop).

“I’m going to forward this text to Julie and see what she thinks he means.”

“I got a job offer, but I can’t make a decision because I can think of too many pros and cons! Let me ask 5 of my friends what they would do … ”

Because over-thinkers get stuck in “analysis paralysis,” they often look outside themselves for answers. They either get sick of themselves, exhausted, or the situation just becomes so cloudy from the over-thinking that they can’t think straight. It’s during that times that over-thinkers turn to other people to help them make decisions, and even to calm them down. This is actually a good thing to do. It helps put some objectivity into our minds, and/or distracts us from our own craziness.

Over-thinking isn’t necessarily bad. It says we care. It says we have complex minds. It shows that we know there are multiple scenarios that can play out in life. But the secret is to gain control over your mind so it doesn’t run out of control. And you can do this, it just takes some effort!

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

The 10 Stages of a Relationship That Every Couple Should Understand Can You Really Fix a Toxic Relationship (And How)? How to Become a Successful Motivational Speaker (Step-By-Step Guide) How to Handle a Cheating Spouse How to Get Out of an Abusive Relationship and Start Afresh

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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