Meta-metacognition: The cure for the analysis-paralysis issue

In Eric-Wubbo Lameijer's nice article Metacognition: the third way of thinking, there is a nice discussion of the potential power that can come from thinking about our thinking.  By approaching our thinking habits with the attitude of the expert - in other words, deliberately seeking better strategies for tackling our problems - we can become better thinkers, even expert thinkers.  In most cases, thinking better is good for business.

But Eric points out a possible pitfall with metacognition: too much metacognition and we fall victim to paralysis by meta-analysis.  I've discussed the importance of translating thoughts to action before, but still the question "how do we achieve the balance between thinking and doing?"  I actually can't believe I'm saying it, but with more metacognition, thank you very much!  The "default state" for many is to be a planner and a thinker, but we should remain dedicated to thinking well and thinking in a way that promotes performance.  To that end, I am downright meta-metacognitive, and am always on the look out for excessive metacognition.   When I think I'm thinking too much, I take action to stop thinking and make shit happen.

But what does that entail?  How can we think our way out of thinking? My opinion: we can't.  Instead, the thinking will continue, but we can consciously start to act by doing things with our bodies like typing, cleaning, dialing, walking, etc,  Eventually, these actions will lead to a shift in mind-set from the analysis mode, to a flow mode where the details of the task are sufficiently engaging to prevent metacognition.

The one time when I find this most important is when trying to sleep - if I'm not careful and I hit the hay in an analytic mode, Mr. Sandman will never arrive.  However, reading before bed gets my mind out of the meta and into flow... Greetings Winkin', Blinkin' and Nod!

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