And I think I think too much
And I’m thinkin’ while I’m thinking
– Crackerman by Stone Temple Pilots
I think a lot of thoughts and most of them are stupid.
After writing the first draft of this essay, I sent it to a couple of friends. I do this with most of my essays because I know these two friends will offer honest feedback, and I value their their opinions. Both are smarter and more well-read than I am. Additionally, Tim Ferriss suggests bloggers (is that what I am now?) should write posts for an audience of a friends instead of attempting to write for everyone.
This particular essay confused one of my friends, so before I continue, I feel the need to clarify the type of thoughts to which I am referring.
Below is the actual clarification I offered my friend through a few emails:
I don’t mean your dream to write the great American novel or your idea for the next great iPhone app. It’s about the 99 out of 100 useless thoughts you have and waste far too much time obsessing over. It’s that constant negative voice in you head that seems to be on repeat.
It’s also not about logistics thoughts like “I need to pick the kids up from school” or “I need to pay this bill before Friday. These are necessary thoughts used to map out your time and efforts.
I’m using stupid for effect. If you bought a new album because you liked the 2 song you’d heard and you thought you’d like the whole thing, but you didn’t…your thought wasn’t really stupid, it was pretty logical but you’ll spend the next week mentally flogging yourself about it. That is the kinds of thoughts I’m talking about.
Maybe that cleared some things up without getting too deep into mindfulness mumbo jumbo. I’ll continue…
I imagine writing some of these thoughts down. How would I feel about seeing them in writing? I’m I really the worst person in the world. Am I a failure? Do I really screw everything up?
Of course not!
I encourage you to do the same. Really think about these thoughts. Examine them. Research them. See if they stand up to some scrutiny. They often sound logical if you don’t think too much about them. Maybe even write some of them down. When you see your self-defeating notions in black and white–or on a glowing screen–you might realize just how stupid most of them are. This process allows you to let go of useless thoughts and let them float back into the ether where they originated.
Many people obsesses over their thoughts. But the majority of our thoughts are spontaneous reactions to external stimuli and not at all valuable. Most thoughts are simply an habitual loop of stupidity. So, let them go.
Just a thought…