First, take your own pulse

The brain is home to 86 billion neurons and is the organ that makes humans unique.  The ability to think and process information is long thought to be the unique evolutionary advantages humans have over other animals.

So it must be strange when such problem as “overthinking” exists.  It’s like saying that the cheetah runs too fast or that the iPad Air is too thin.

The problem of overthinking comes with stress, anxiety, or otherwise feeling the need to be in control – choking during a basketball championship, getting stage fright, or blanking out in front of a gorgeous date.

The irony is that the desire to increase control forces us to think harder, which unfortunately loosens our grips on the situation.

The natural course of thinking is towards simplicity.  With more practice, fewer neurons actually fire when we perform a learned action, and we are less aware of it.

It is when we no longer need to think about doing something that more brain capacity is opened up for creativity, for innovation, for breaking the dogma. At least one Nobel-prize winning idea was conceived during a routine car drivesongwriters often come up with new ideas in the shower, and the best comebacks to an debate usually happens on your way home.

It’s as if we have an entire other brain dedicated to perform learned tasks, so that the thinking brain can take a break and daydream.  It turns out that we do, and the system has been described and vetted by psychologists, neuroscientists, and journalists, to name a few.

In the end, although much sarcasm brims The House of God, it has one sensible rule:

Rule #3: At a cardiac arrest, the first procedure is to take your own pulse.

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Howard Chen
Vice Chair for Artificial Intelligence at Cleveland Clinic Diagnostics Institute
Howard is passionate about making diagnostic tests more accurate, expedient, and affordable through disciplined implementation of advanced technology. He previously served as Chief Informatics Officer for Imaging, where he led teams deploying and unifying radiology applications and AI in a multi-state, multi-hospital environment. Blog opinions are his own and in no way reflect those of the employer.

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