Action Trumps Overthinking

Adrian S. Potter
3 min readOct 4, 2021

How a Bruce Lee quote reminds me that progress beats contemplation.

Photo by Emir Kaan Okutan from Pexels

The Secondhand Inspiration Project begins with a motivational quote and ventures wherever the creative path meanders.

Bruce Lee was more than a martial artist, cultural icon, and movie star. He was also a student of life and a purveyor of wisdom.

One of his quotes sticks in my mind like a scientific formula that I memorized for a high school midterm.

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

I have treated this Bruce Lee quote like it’s a law of physics for my life goals.

Each endeavor begins with a thought. But if all I do is think, I will never take that idea from conception to completion.

I have ridden the analysis paralysis roller coaster countless times. But just because I’ve been a frequent rider doesn’t mean I’d recommend it. A brilliant idea arrives but then overthinking follows, pushing me into a cycle of oscillating motivation that inevitably tosses water onto my initial fire.

Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

Often it is better to inch forward towards an idea instead of hanging back and analyzing things from a distance.

No, I am not endorsing attacking goals with blind recklessness. I always should try to utilize some common sense. But daydreaming about the finish line without acting will not move me any closer to it.

I can examine something for eternity but never identify all the hidden variables or predict all the pitfalls. No amount of perfectionist-based preparation will ready me to challenge the unknown.

Risk inherently feels awkward and uncertain. That’s why people call it leaving the comfort zone — it is not supposed to feel warm like a security blanket. That uneasy feeling represents the growth that I need to experience so I can reduce the gap between my current identity and future self.

I must embrace this anxiety, or at a minimum, lean towards it.

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Adrian S. Potter

Antisocial Extrovert · Writer and Poet, Engineer, Consultant, Public Speaker · Writing about self-improvement, gratitude, and creativity · www.adrianspotter.com