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.
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.
I bet that you’re extrapolating your perceptions all the time. Let me give you a few examples and tell whether I’m wrong.
- “House prices will probably keep increasing.”
- “That person will never change.”
- “My business will keep growing.”
- “I will never learn from my mistakes.”
- “He doesn’t like me.”
We often have these type of thoughts multiple times a day. The root of this problem is our quick judgment.
Humans are very fast thinkers. But how fast do we even think?
Scientists have quantified the speed of light and sound, but when it comes to thoughts, it’s not that easily measured.