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10 Things Overthinkers Do that Make Them More Likely To Be Successful

10 Things Overthinkers Do that Make Them More Likely To Be Successful

There are those who like to rush into things, and those that like to take their time to prepare before making a move. It’s not like everyone is either impulsive or very anal about things – it’s a sliding scale – but being on one of the extremes can have certain benefits. Overthinkers might have some problems because they don’t like to just jump at opportunities, but they also have a lot of interesting traits that can help them become successful.

1. They always have a ton of to-do lists, spreadsheets and planners

Make a list

    If you are prone to over thinking, chances are you’ve always got a list or spreadsheet within arm’s reach, and it’s not just for everyday to-do’s. Let me give you a personal example: while the average blogger will have 3-4 things on his “set up a website” list that he or she will go over in a couple of days, I would go through an extensive checklist before even deciding on a host, and I’d get stuck on simple web design choices for days. This can actually be a good thing when it comes to staying organized in the workplace. Over-thinkers tend to make good project managers.

    2. They know that fortune favors the prepared

    Prepared

      Getting an assignment done in time requires some careful planning and plenty of focus. This is something that most people can’t get right, so they end up rushing projects, pulling all-nighters and producing sub-par results. People who like to go over everything several times and explore every detail will be better equipped to handle any task (even if it is kind of a last moment thing) simply because they prepare for all kinds of situations well in advance.

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      3. They can see both the big picture and the little details

      focusing on details

        While it is often enough to do some quick research and get a basic feel of things to be able to complete a project, those that put in a bit more effort into even the simplest tasks are much more likely to get noticed by higher ups. This obsession with details also helps when learning a new skill like playing an instrument or dancing, because it allows you to approach things very systematically and focus on the best methods.

        4. They are perfectionists

        Perfection

          It may take a perfectionist a bit more time to get things done, but he or she will gladly cut into their free time when learning something new or working on a project. Employers tend to value the extra devotion and passion that some people put in. At the same time this means that an over-thinker is going to be much better at performing boring tasks and working on making small improvements all the time. They won’t stop until they truly understand the theory and all the nuances of what they are doing – so they will be able to attain better results, as well as teach others.

          5. They are surprised by very few things

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          Surprise

            Some of us don’t like to go into any situation blind and will at least do some basic research and get some practice in before taking on a task. The best thing about this is that very few things will be able to throw you off your game, whether you are on a job interview, a date or a business meeting.

            6. They don’t post pictures and statuses that would harm their reputation on social media

            Social media mogul

              It seems a bit unusual to most people that someone would spend 10-20 minutes thinking about how to word their status update on Facebook or choosing just the right picture to share, but this can actually work to a person’s benefit. Being careful about what kind of image you are presenting on social media can actually help you land a job or impress new acquaintances.

              7. They have multiple skills and interests

              Talents

                Do you know what happens when you spend an inordinate amount of time learning about a topic or trying to always be well-prepared to handle all kinds of situations? Well, you end up picking up multiple skills and become quite knowledgeable on a variety of topics. Being a sort of a jack-of-all-trades can help you move up the corporate ladder, and it makes you a much more interesting person overall.

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                8. They are good at following rules

                Following the rules

                  Over-thinking has a social component as well, i.e. you tend to be very particular about social conventions. One of the reasons for exploring different scenarios over and over in your head is that you don’t want to come across as rude, dumb or clumsy when interacting with others. You end up learning the rules and conventions for different situations very well, and you get quite good at following the rules. This allows you to quickly pick up on what others expect of you and adapt your behavior to suit the situation.

                  9. They can learn from their mistakes and move on

                  Making mistakes

                    The thing that brings people down the most when faced with failure is that they simply cannot accept the fact that they messed up, and end up beating themselves up, going through all the things they could have done differently. Well, if you are the kind of person that obsess over every little detail, when something goes wrong you know there is absolutely nothing else you could have done differently to prepare you for it. It ends up being easier to accept things for what they are, learn from the mistake and move on.

                    10. They are ambitious and dedicated

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                    Success

                      It may start out as a matter of precaution (i.e. you start to focus on every minor detail and prepare excessively before every undertaking because you fear that you might fail or disappoint), but over time your obsession turns into dedication. You start to develop a wide knowledge base and tons of useful skills, which in turn makes you more confident and your ambitions grow with every passing day. These traits are essential for any entrepreneur looking to make a name for him or herself.

                      As you can see, being somewhat obsessive and over-thinking things can actually be a beneficial trait. Those that measure several times before they cut, then stop and measure some more, then go find a better pair of scissors and cut ever so carefully, these are the ones that have a distinct advantage when it comes to achieving big life goals.

                      Featured photo credit: beautiful girl sitting alone autumn morning via shutterstock.com

                      More by this author

                      Ivan Dimitrijevic

                      Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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                      Last Updated on March 21, 2019

                      11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                      11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                      Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

                      You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

                      But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

                      To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

                      It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

                      “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

                      The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

                      In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

                      Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

                      1. Start Small

                      The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

                      Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

                      Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

                      Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

                      Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

                      Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

                      It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

                      Do less today to do more in a year.

                      2. Stay Small

                      There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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                      But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

                      If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

                      When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

                      I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

                      Why?

                      Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

                      The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

                      Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

                      3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

                      No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

                      There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

                      What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

                      Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

                      This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

                      This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

                      4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

                      When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

                      There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

                      Peter Drucker said,

                      “What you track is what you do.”

                      So track it to do it — it really helps.

                      But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

                      5. Measure Once, Do Twice

                      Peter Drucker also said,

                      “What you measure is what you improve.”

                      So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

                      For reading, it’s 20 pages.
                      For writing, it’s 500 words.
                      For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
                      For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

                      Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

                      6. All Days Make a Difference

                      Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

                      Will two? They won’t.

                      Will three? They won’t.

                      Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

                      What happened? Which one made you fit?

                      The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

                      No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

                      7. They Are Never Fully Automated

                      Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

                      But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

                      What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

                      It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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                      The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

                      It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

                      It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

                      8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

                      Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

                      Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

                      When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

                      The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

                      Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

                      9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

                      The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

                      Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

                      You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

                      But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

                      So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

                      If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

                      This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

                      The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

                      Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

                      10. Punish Yourself

                      Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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                      I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

                      It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

                      You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

                      No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

                      The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

                      But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

                      11. Reward Yourself

                      When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

                      Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

                      The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

                      After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

                      If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

                      Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

                      If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

                      In the End, It Matters

                      What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

                      When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

                      And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

                      “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

                      Keep going.

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                      More Resources to Help You Build Habits

                      Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
                      [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
                      [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
                      [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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