Don't overthink it

July 07, 2018

There have been a couple of times in my life when I woke up after a long night of drinking and saw some kind of truth. Often that I'd been lying to myself about something and needed to confront a hard, unpleasant reality.

Things like, no, you'll never get back together after a breakup. Or that I'd wasted a tremendous amount of money or time on something that was never going to work.

These moments are hard but they're the stuff of personal growth.

They always seem to happen when I "slow down" a bit—when I manage to stop my brain from spinning, to be less "busy", and break the whirlwind of rationalization, invented explanation, excuses, and all the other forms the lies we tell ourselves take.

I don't drink much anymore but I'm not surprised some of this was brought on by alcohol, as it's a depressant. Maybe meditation can help.

But if you're like me, my advice is to be mindful of the hazards of overthinking it. It's a real risk for those with active imaginations. At a minimum, be aware of your gut instincts and first impressions; don't ignore or bury them. And don't forget Occam's razor: the simplest explanation is often the best, even if it's not the comfortabe one, or the one you want.

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