Dont think, Just do

5 Jun 2024

The first time i heard the phrase "Dont think, just do" was from the movie Top Gun: Maverick some time back, and it kind of stayed with me. It felt profound, but at the same time not very practical, especially when the situation demands you think very well before you take the next step.

It wasn't until recently that i realised it is to be applied, after (and not before) you have thought things through and the time for acting has come. Thoughts at this juncture, could distract, hold us back from taking action.

Don't get me wrong though, Thinking is essential for having a clear understanding of what we want to achieve and why before we can begin the process, this was the topic of my previous article. However, once we've done our due diligence and it's time to take the next step, thinking can become a hindrance.

Thinking is sort of like the mind's day job. For the highly trained mind, there is no issue as thoughts can be controlled, subdued, and channeled into the right direction. But for others, it feels like the mind takes us for a ride with its varied and engaging world of thoughts, mostly filled with "what ifs" and "maybes". Somehow we need to short circuit this behaviour and just get on with doing what we wanted to in the first place.

For those who have developed a high degree of mental discipline through practices like meditation, this process can be relatively straightforward. They've learned to control their thoughts, channeling them in the desired direction. However, for others, it may take more effort to quiet the mind and focus on the task at hand. But here's a rather simple exercise,

Think of what the next thought will/should be, i.e ask the mind "What's next ?". After asking the question, it seems like the mind goes silent, devoid of any thoughts or distractions, just blankness. Repeating the inquiry only repeated this phenomenon.

I got the idea for this exercise from a YouTube talk on Advaita Vedanta. It feels like thoughts somehow bubble up from a void, an abyss rather than being fetched from a neatly arranged queue.

I am sure there are other techniques to quieten the mind, but if nothing works, just holding on the mantra of "Dont Think, Just do" will be enough to see the task through. I have tried it with success while working out, studying a challenging topic, attempting something new, or even doing mundane errands throughout the day.

Once the task is done, our minds are no longer preoccupied with thoughts of "what ifs" and "maybes". So with whatever means, find a way to stop thinking and Just do stuff.

On a related note, There is another iteration of this phrase which is "Dont think, just be". Which is all about being rather than doing, which makes it an increasingly philosophical, nuanced and sublime subject. Will write about that another time.