How much time should I spend thinking instead of doing? It’s one of the biggest questions I struggle with. One side of me says, “Without doing you will never achieve anything.”
Another side says, “Without thinking things through, you might end up doing the wrong things.”
Thinking by itself is worthless because if you never do anything, what’s the use? And if you only act without thinking, you’ll probably end up in jail or in a ditch. That’s why this topic is so important. But most of us never even consider living by a thinking/doing ratio.
I live by a 20/80 ratio.
Before I explain why that is, and how you can create your own ratio, let’s look at some of the most respected individuals of our time: Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, two investors who are celebrated for their good decisions and thinking processes.
They are not only thinkers, but they are also successful practitioners.
There’s this idea in Eastern and Western philosophy that we must learn how to enjoy the present moment without getting distracted by the past or future.
Ever since the invention of words, the human race has been lost in thought. We are constantly thinking, stressing, worrying, and being preoccupied with a force that seems outside of our control.
That’s why many of us search for refuge in philosophies that promise us inner calm. Stoicism, Mindfulness, Zen—most of us use the teachings to escape our thoughts.
We keep on treating the symptoms by using meditation apps, reading comfortable books and articles, getting rid of our devices, and trying the next solution that promises peace from ourselves.
If you believe that only stupid people make mistakes, you’re as wrong as I was. The truth is that everyone makes mistakes. Smart people admit that. Stupid people do not.
What’s more, the smartest and most successful people in history have made the most mistakes. Are those two things connected? I think so. This Albert Einstein quote says it all:
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
I used to blame myself for making mistakes in life. I think that’s how our society is. As a kid, you’re punished for making mistakes in school and life. And because of that, we think it’s normal to punish each other as adults.