Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Paralysis of Thinking

“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.”

Napoleon Bonaparte

Do butterflies have a brain?
Why does a tube of toothpaste have directions on it?
If microwaves were fluorescent green, what would your microwave oven look like while they bombard a cup of water?

Those are three thoughts I had between 4:30 and 4:45 this morning. They amused me, so I’m sharing them. Anyone have answers?

I could find the answers within a half-hour, thanks to the wonder of Google. But I’d rather talk about Napoleon. Should we take seriously the advice of a guy who ended up in exile because of his actions?

Of course we should. Many enormously gifted people have landed in prison because a more powerful faction could put them there. Just because he was a grandiose fellow whose aspirations exceeded his abilities doesn’t make him wrong.

Napoleon’s advice about taking action makes me think of some 12-step sayings that I love. For example: Take the action and the feelings will follow.

And this one: It’s easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking, than to think your way into a new way of acting. I personally love this axiom. It’s helped me do everything from the large (staying sober) to the little (cleaning house).

Excessive thinking often leads to paralysis by analysis. What I’m learning to do is this: Stop thinking and re-thinking, wringing my hands and pondering something every which way from Sunday, worrying an idea like a dog gnawing on a bone. Instead: Pray, deliberate, ask my advisors, and take the next action.

Just take the first indicated step into the situation. As Napoleon said, “Stop thinking and go in.”

Can you relate?



Realliveman said...


Pondering is such a fun thing to do!

I like the butterfly one. I never thought of that. Do they have a brain? Do they even need one? I mean, it's flap, flap, eat flap flap their entire afterlife (They were caterpillars in their beforelife HA)

It's also funny to know that Napoleon was a philosopher. I guess short guys ARE deep thinkers LOL

sarah said...

hahahah. you have deep thoughts in the middle of the night...have a great easy weekend

Prayer Girl said...

Oh I can relate. I used to analyze to a fault and it did not serve me well. I came to understand the AA idea of "analysis paralysis". Turning all over to God helps stop all my over analyzing.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Felicitas said...

I can completely relate to Napoleon's advice - particularly this morning as I procrastinate in front of the computer instead of cleaning my VERY disheveled house!

Kim A. said...

A favorite of mine is "Figure it Out is NOT an Alanon slogan" My brain is my problem and I have to remain vigilant of my ego-driven crazy thoughts. Yep..I can relate.

As to your butterflies get people in their stomachs when nervous?


Patty said...

Oh, man, can I.

Magpie said...

I love when you share portions of your 12 step program. They apply to all of us and are sage advice.

I'm writing this one down and putting it right by my computer and reading it daily and living my life by it and passing it on to my children and their children...I guess you can tell I like it. :)

Just Be Real/God Whispers In The Wind said...

These were too good. Like the toothpaste direction one and I also agree with you on the "acting" one. Thanks for brightening my day.

TechnoBabe said...

I think toothpaste has directions on to be in compliance with a law.
Creative minds tend to wake people up in the early hours of the morning don't they????

Steve E said...

Somebody wrote way way back, "He doth thinketh too much" (or something like that).

The Bard was writing about ME--and I'm not the ONLY one--grin!

Like your blog--a lot. And do you know PG and I agree, your heading picture is a "Best-of-Blogger", at least in this part of the blog world

Secretia said...

When it comes to exercise on a day I don't feel like it, just do it.


Monkey Man said...

We are nothing without action.

Madison said...

I'm afraid I'd revise what Napoleon wrote. 'Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, sit down, chill out and rethink in a month.' But, that's because my natural tendency is to act first, think later.

lakeviewer said...

You have some deep thoughts in the wee hours. Some people are frozen in place by their thoughts.

C.M. Jackson said...

I loved this post--so true about action creating a new way of living--thank you--I am posting this one up on my desk at home and at work! have a beautiful weekend!

Judy Sheldon-Walker said...

Beautifully written, thought provoking...I love it.

Please visit my blog and pick up your awards:

Thanks for being you!

Titanium said...

Yes, butterflies and all other insects have both a brain and a heart. The center of a butterfly's nervous system is the subesophageal ganglion and is located in the insect's thorax, not its head. The butterfly has a long chambered heart that runs the length of its body on the upper side. It pumps hemolymph (it lacks the red color of blood) from the rear of the insect forward to bathe its internal organs.

Always happy to help un-stump you :)

Brian Miller said...

i am with you on overthinking things...gets you stuck...think steps...take action...move forward...

well there was this guy who tried to use a tube of toothpaste...

Shadow said...

stop thinking too much and just do it! yip, i'm with you!

Scott said...

sometimes we just have to adjourn the itty bitty sh*tty committee and get in the game :-)

Shoshana said...

"It’s easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking, than to think your way into a new way of acting."

I needed to hear this today--thanks.

Marla said...

I can completely relate. I overthink everything and drive myself crazy.

Albert Einstein Quotes