kottke.org posts about Annalisa Barbieri

The Power of Overthinking

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 22, 2021

For The Guardian, Annalisa Barbieri wrote Why I’m glad that I’m an ‘overthinker’.

“Just going with it” is not something I do. I have to really understand what I’m doing and then I think through almost every possibility and eventuality, like a mind map on steroids. And I plan. When people say things like: “Who could have imagined XYZ would happen?” about some entirely predictable outcome, my most common response is “I could”. I have realised that for most people I am an overthinker, but for me, it is others who underthink. I just think.

I have taken my foot off the overthinking pedal in recent years, but that paragraph more or less describes me to a T. My anxiety and overthinking used to feel like a handicap, like something to be overcome, but Oliver Burkeman’s persuasive argument in The Antidote convinced me to think about my anxiety as useful and even a little bit of a superpower, as long as it doesn’t spiral out of control.