You may see the title of this post and believe the words should be in a different order. Perhaps you’ve heard or read the old maxim, “Think less, live more”. Those of us who are over-thinkers have come to appreciate the advice of thinking less and allowing ourselves to live more. However, my personality still prefers to think more, but this has sometimes led to living less in a good way.
Personally, I do not believe that being an over-thinker is bad. The problem with over-thinking, is that, in most cases, the thinking is unfocused. We either become bogged down imagining worst case scenarios or get caught up in pie-in-the sky visions of amazing perfection.
Meantime, through learning how to focus over-thinking into concentration, we over-thinkers learn how to live more effectively and with deeper meaning than if we blindly think less to live more. Certainly we don’t want to get caught in a web of fearful aversion to making mistakes. It’s simply good sense to know the hazards before beginning a course of action. Knowing the odds of something bad happening versus the odds of something good happening helps ensure wise action.
An extreme example of knowing more, live less was the first manned flight to the Moon. The astronauts didn’t just climb into a huge rocket, aim it in the general direction of the Moon, then blast off. If they would have done that, chances are poor that they would have even arrived at the Moon. Furthermore, they would have been doomed to never return home.
Getting to the Moon and back to Earth required a lot of people who used their over-thinking personalities to create worst-case scenarios and techniques to overcome disaster. The people involved in the mission to send a manned capsule to the Moon used their wealth of knowledge to enable the successful completion of their goal.
One might argue that much of the knowledge to accomplish the mission was acquired through the practical experience of just doing, or living more and thinking less. However, when we focus our analytical thoughts, we remember that the first attempts at orbital flight, and sending unmanned craft into space were all accomplished through a lot of over-thinking in order to avoid extremely costly mistakes. Mistakes did occur, but the engineers and planners remembered them and did even more thinking to add the data to their knowledge base.
We might admit that situations like Space travel certainly do require a great amount of thinking and knowledge. On the other hand, we can remember personal situations when we acted on impulse with the results being enjoyable and rewarding. Again, it’s all in the thinking and the knowing.
When we know enough about people and activities, we have a better than even chance of going ahead and acting on good faith that thinking less and living more creates a happy outcome. When a friend invites you to attend a party with her you can just go on a whim and probably have fun. You have a better chance of enjoying yourself and not getting into trouble, if you know ahead of time where the party will take place, whether or not any trouble-makers have been invited, and if dodgy behavior is expected. Knowing these things helps you discern whether or not the party attendance is a good or bad idea.
On a different level, knowing more, living less reveals wisdom when done mindfully. We know that our time on Earth is a limited resource. Will we live more than 100-years or will an accident or illness claim our lives tomorrow? Either way, time is valuable.
It is unfortunate to spend that time fumbling away our lives in a constant trial and error manner. At the same time it is unwise to over-think situations to the point of being swept into cycles of indecision. At some point, a person must make an informed decision then follow through, knowing the consequences of doing so.
We don’t wish to heap our lives with an abundance of mistakes. Having some foreknowledge is vital to acting effectively and satisfactorily. Knowing where you want to go and what you want to do are important aspects of the good life.
Sure, it’s often fun and sometimes rewarding to think less and live more. However this is best when we understand when it is appropriate to take a chance. It really does boil down to effective concentration. Know more, live less to live better. Think about it.