Self-actualisation is defined by scholars alike as the realisation of one's potentials and the ability to convert that into some form of value.
Seems like a simple idea right? Then why are most of us stuck inside our heads, moving through our lives with tons of potentially great stuff but too few stories of when we actually tried to utilise our gifts.
I have been exploring the theme of self-limitation v self-actualisation as part of my research on courage and fear for some articles I am writing for the RG10 Magazine.
This process as somewhat forced me to dig deep into myself and explore why I am also yet to actaualise my true potentials and then try to take steps towards actually utilising them.
One of the central themes that I discovered stop us as women from utilising our talents and potentials is 'overthinking' - ah that word, I bet like me you just took a couple of seconds to 'overthink' what it means! Don't despair you are not alone.
So why are so many of us fixated on dissecting every little detail before they even become real? Why do we in the name of 'being realistic' kill our creativity by leaving nothing to chance and opportunity? exploring every angle until our ideas no longer appear relevant or acheiveable?
Perhaps it is because we don't fully understand what it can do to us mentally and our ability to perform or achieve. While one may be tempted to think that overthinking is the same as thinking and as such good for us, when we look closer it can actually be toxic and unproductive.
Overthinking refocuses us from what can actually work into the dark abyss of what can never work. It is like been blindfolded in a dark room. It may even create a problem that does not exist!
Overthinking can also kill an idea before it is even born. It encourages abandonment since nothing is hardly perfect at inception.
Overthinking affects our confidence as women. Take for example the time I had to write a very long and detailed guidance document at work, on the d-day to turn my document in, I went through the document one last time with my full overthinking hat on, upon all my hard work to get it done, I published the document convinced it was dead on arrival, I just didn't think it would work because of several reasons.
Well, I was right and wrong, some worked, some didn't. But because I focused too much on what could not work, I did not realise how much of what actually worked could have been replicated to resolve some other areas.
Overthinking also stops you from helping other people. The more you worry about what can be done, the more you wait to actually do what can be done. Again no idea starts perfect, but even imperfect ideas can actually change the world! When I saw a picture of the first computer ever made, I thought wow! What a journey.
The list goes on, don't get me wrong, we must be thoughtful and realistic with our ideas, but we must be vigilant not to end up standing in our own way as a result of overthinking.
So ladies, let us draw the line, follow our guts more, continue to trust our own abilities and above all as women let us always remember that there are always lessons to be learnt even when we get it wrong.
Have a beautiful Easter holiday and remember to keep your head and your heart clutter free.