Strategy’s Evil Twin, Rumination

I’ve been noticing lately the correlation between having a gift for strategic thinking and being prone to anxiety/overwhelm.  It’s made me really curious. 

Here’s my hypothesis. When you have a gift for strategic thinking, you are processing what if scenarios, alternate paths, and possible outcomes naturally to come up with the best path forward. It’s all about using your perception of the future to formulate a plan for today. This is a highly sought after gift in the world. Not everyone can think this way.  Where it goes awry is when we use this gift on decisions that have already been made (second guessing) or use it obsessively which ends up prolonging decisions.

There seems to be a line that must be drawn in order to keep this gift within the rails to prevent it’s evil twin, rumination from rearing its ugly head.

For me, the indicator of the line comes from my feelings. When I’m using my strategic thinking gift, I feel energized and calm. When I’m ruminating, I feel anxious and overwhelmed.  As soon as I notice anxiety and/or overwhelm, I do the following:

  1. Physiological sighs (2 short inhales, 1 long exhale) to bring myself to a more calm place.
  2. Write down what I’m thinking in as much detail as possible.
  3. If I’m second guessing a decision I’ve already made, I tell myself we aren’t doing that any more and that I always trust my decisions. Second guessing is a habit so I treat it like I would in breaking any habit. I set a timer for 15 minutes and sit with the urge to second guess. I repeat the timer until it goes away. Eventually my brain will get the picture and stop throwing out the urge to second guess.
  4. If I’m prolonging a decision, I immediately set a date within the next week for when I will make the decision no matter what. I then write down everything I think I need to make a decision and put a plan around getting it. I make the decision on the date I schedule, no matter what. I ask myself, if I was guaranteed success with any of the options, which one would I pick? I go with that.

I’m curious about your thoughts on this topic. Do you think that strategic thinking and rumination are related?

PS: If you are having issues with managing stress and anxiety, I would love to help. Schedule a chat today!

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