You've successfully subscribed to Not Overthinking
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Not Overthinking
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.

An Existential Crisis

An Existential Crisis
In this episode, Taimur talks about the existential crisis that he's going through. We try and figure out what our real goals and motivations are for the things that we're doing.

In this episode, Taimur talks about the existential crisis that he's going through. We try and figure out what our real goals and motivations are for the things that we're doing.

We spent much of the podcast discussing a select few articles that Taimur had selected. Here are the links to all those articles as well as the tweet thread which was also discussed.

Here are some of the highlights from our discussion:

If you think of losing as not winning, then when you try to work out why you lost or why you’re a loser, you’ll tend to focus on the things you didn’t do and the qualities you don’t have.

“It seems unlikely that anyone would like to fail until you realise that high expectations are emotionally and mentally expensive. There is a lot more pressure, angst, self-doubt and in general reflexive cognitive corrosion when there is a good chance you’ll win compared to when you think you’re likely to lose”.  J.Somers, 2009

We often fall victim to the trap of being satisfied if we have a convincing excuse for why something didn’t work. An excuse of this nature holds us back in the long term because we convince ourself that that was the sole reason for our failure leading to that self-defeating feeling of satisfaction. This stops us from questioning the multiplicity of reasons as to why something didn't work.

It’s important to be able to have a goal but not let your self-esteem be determined by whether you meet that goal. The framing that you either have to ignore goals and focus on the process or you have to have the goal and be sad if you don’t accomplish the goal is just a false dichotomy.

Punching through the target is an apt analogy that can be adapted and adopted to wider life and business. If you are learning martial arts and you want to punch a target, you’re not taught to aim for the target, you’re taught to aim through the target. By aiming to go through the target, you're more likely to properly engage and strike the original target more easily.

The progress that you make is influenced by the size of your goals. Having clarity on what you want dictates the extent to which you need to make changes to achieve your goals.

Sponsored by Brilliant

This episode is kindly supported by Brilliant, the best way to learn maths, science, and computer science online. Brilliant focuses on helping you learn how to think, rather than just memorising methods and facts. Sign up at — the first 100 people get 20% off an annual subscription.

Leave us a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast, we'd love for you to leave us a review on iTunes / Apple Podcasts. Here's a link that works even if you're not on an iPhone :)

Send us an Audio Message

We really want to include more listener comments and questions in our episodes. If you've got any thoughts on this episode, or if you've got a conundrum or question you'd like us to discuss, send an audio file / voice note to any non-audio comments, drop us a tweet or DM on Twitter -

Listen to for free

What is this?

Not Overthinking is a podcast about happiness, creativity, and the human condition. We talk about things to help us think, do, and be better. Things like social interaction, lifestyle design, mental models...things that are hard to examine, but important to explore. And hopefully, things that make for a fun and interesting chat every week.

Follow Not Overthinking on Twitter:

Who are we?

Ali is a junior doctor and YouTuber working in Cambridge, UK. He makes videos about medicine, technology, productivity and lifestyle design. His links: YouTube, Blog, Newsletter, Instagram

Taimur is a data scientist and writer, working on his own startup Causal. He writes on his blog and as a columnist for Medium. His links: Blog, Twitter, Medium, Instagram