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For over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D. — a uniquely qualified therapist, life coach, and former university professor — has coached tens of thousands of people from over 87 countries to achieve happiness and success in their relationships, dating, psychology, and lifestyle.

Dr. Tian has been featured in international media, as well as co-hosting a radio show on national radio and a weekly dating advice column in a national newspaper in Singapore.

The show, “Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man” (, is David’s way of helping as many people as possible enjoy empowering and fulfilling lives, while contributing to the global understanding of masculinity in modern times. In the show, he takes your questions posed in the Man Up private Facebook group ( and answers based on his experience coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.

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“The Man Up Show” Ep.81 – Why Do We Overthink Things

Why We Overthink Things

  • David Tian Ph.D. explains what will happen if you don’t have enough things going on in your life.

  • If you have a lots of free time, David Tian Ph.D. reveals that you will tend to overthink more.

  • In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. shares what you can do to be more productive.

David Tian: Boom! Stop. In episode 81 of Man Up, I answer the question of, why do we overthink things?

[Intro Music]

Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I am David Tian, Ph.D., and this is: Man Up!

[Music Fades]

Hey, I’m David Tian, Ph.D. and welcome to Man Up episode 81. I’m in Singapore after two and a half weeks in Japan. Cold winter in Japan. I got a flu there. Actually I couldn’t even work out for that two and a half weeks so I haven’t hit the weights for three weeks… well two… almost three weeks.

Yesterday and today I started up again. Yesterday was squat and deadlifts, stay plus… like calves and stuff, kettle bell. Today it was chest and back and oh my God, my cardiovascular capacity went down a lot I’m still not a hundred percent from the cold so I have a little bit of a cough but most of it is gone. But yeah, it was just a hard recovery. I usually rest 45 seconds between sets, unless it’s like a superset or something and then I’ll do a minute rest.

But this time, for these two workouts these two days, I had to do a minute rest after you know, two or three sets because I’m out of breath like my chest was… my heart rate was pounding my chest like crazy. I know it’s just a weights workout but next week I’m going to be doing a lot of calisthenics, some MMA… actually lots of MMA, we’ll see how it goes. Maybe I’ll report about it.

But anyway, just wanted to share that why I’m still now even a little out of breath. It’s like 11:30 at night but the effects of the workout is still like… wow, it’s good! I’m still getting the metabolic burn. I guess the take away lesson, I’m going to draw out a take away lesson so it’s not just rambling, is when you’re out of the loop, you know when you stop doing something for a while, getting back in it, you’re always going to have that initial hard time at the beginning because you’re re-adjusting. So people who are successful at life just understand that that’s a necessary phase you got to get back on. Get back on!

So anyway, here’s the question from the private Facebook group and I’m going to answer, I’m actually going to answer Vincent’s question. I wasn’t planning to, but I’m going to answer it.

So Vincent, his question is, “How can you avoid overthinking future situations in general and especially with women?”. So good, he gives some context, “For example, I was on a date yesterday and two to three days before the date, I couldn’t help but think of any possible situation that could happen when I was not distracted by something. It’s not only with women, I’ve always been the kind of person who overthinks situations and ends up in long daydreams as a consequence. Can meditation probably help with this issue because I think it influences my behavior in bad way.”

The answer is yes!

So I actually answered it right there in the comments and said yeah. Meditation will help, go and do it. Probably he hasn’t even tried it. Can meditation help? You know how you could find out? By fucking trying meditation. I mean you just sit there and you take a course, just go to your local meditation place and just sit for one of their free, you know, intro course.

They usually have a free or ten bucks or something and try it out. You know why he hasn’t tried it out? Because he overthinks shit. You know why he’s never going to succeed in life unless he watches this video? Because he overthinks shit!

You could have already solved this problem by just trying out your suggested solutions but instead you have to ask “should I try it” before you try it. I don’t think he’s even tried it yet. I don’t know. Because if he’s the type of person, “Oh I should try meditation. I’ll go and try it”, then he wouldn’t have this problem.

Reason I’ve chosen to answer this question is because a lot of the guys in the group and a lot of guys who write me over email overthinks shit. And here’s why. Here’s what I suspect. Because I’ve been coaching over ten years. I’ve coached over five hundred clients live, tens of thousands, on the internet over online programs and forums and skype coaching and so forth. And I’ve seen this pattern over and over and fucking over.

Most people – men, women, everyone – most people are leading lives of very low standards. I didn’t realize this because the circles – I don’t want to sound like a dick – but the circles that I was raised in, good Asian-American circles, while as Asian-Canadian, but you know half of the time I was raised in America, half in Canada, were over achievers.

Like the average day, I’m thinking back to when I was 10 years old, I’d go to school, there’s a normal school, and I’d get straight A’s. Well not 10, I really didn’t give a shit about school at 10 years old. But like by 13 years old, getting straight A’s then what happened was there was after school activities.

So I was on the basketball team, volleyball team, the soccer team and then we would have practices. If we didn’t have practices then I’d have band. You know when I was in the band, I was in three different bands. I was in the concert band, I was in the large group jazz band, I had my own group jazz combo. I sound like a real geek now. So we have practice every day and then on top of that, I’d do debate club, I do chess club… every single minute of the day as a child, 12, 13, 14 years old, and then obviously all the way for the rest of my life from that point forward, discipline and hard work was instilled in me from a young age.

Thank you to my parents they were awesome at that. I didn’t think I was that special because all of our friends, all of our family friends and the kids I hung out with in school, they all worked like that. We had after school activities and everyone took the late bus home. So school ended at like 3:30, I wouldn’t get on the bus until 5pm because I had an hour and a half of either sports practice or a music practice or debating team.

We travel around to do tournaments or something and later Model United Nations. And then we had to volunteer, so like to apply to college, not so much in Canada, but I applied to US universities too. You have to do your good work stuff. There’s charity work.

On the weekends, I could relax maybe three or four hours but my mom would make me do extra math work. Like my mom would assign me math work. And then we’d have our performances, piano recitals, and then I’d have Chinese class in the mornings, you know for four hours on Saturdays.

This is just like when I was thirteen years old man. Then I had all of the church activities – Saturday Night Youth Fellowship. I was leading a lot of that stuff. You know leading the praise and worship man. I was leading bible studies. On Sunday, it was full day at church because my dad was a pastor so I was there like 9am all the way until 3pm because like 9 to 12 we have services, or two different services that I would help out with.

Services or bible study. Either first service then bible study or two services in a row and then after lunch we’d have choir practice. So 3 – 3:30pm I’d just be completely exhausted but you know, it was church, that was my life. And then I’d have the rest of Sunday to relax. That was my only day to relax after church.

So my parents and I would, our family would go, maybe we rent a video. You know those back in the VHS days right. Or we’d have that big family dinner or we’d have that church family gathering. To this day, whenever I go back to Canada to visit my family, they’re all still on that schedule.

My older sister went to Penn and did her MBA and then law degree. She’s running her own accounting firm, very proud of her. They’re a hard working family. Then my younger sister went to Columbia, did her Master’s degree and again they’re a hard working family. These are just solid Asian-Canadian folk, you know what I mean. It wasn’t that unusual for me. Everybody was doing that.

Now the Asian-Americans watching this, you’re all just nodding “yeah”. Of course, this is your life, right? I’ve been living in Singapore for the past 8 – well in Singapore and the region, as you can tell from the videos and all, flying all over the place. Based in this region of Southeast Asia for like 8 years now, 2008. Eight years. Then prior to that, 4 years in China. And just a note out to Asian-American, Asian-Canadians, the Asians in Asia are very different.

As you can imagine the whole population of the entire country is Asian, right, so there’s always going to be a distribution curve. There’s always going to be your outliers. And in America, the Chinese folk and some Asian-Americans, I’m not going to go through all the different ethnic groups, are outliers on this end.

So you have them like way overrepresented in Ivy League schools as far as the percentage of the population, you know, the super achievers are lots of Asian-Americans working their way up the corporate ladder eventually they’ll, I think there might be something of a bamboo ceiling but eventually… However in Asia, you have Asians along that full distribution curve like there are those who flunk out and there are those who do really well but most of the people are in the middle and that doesn’t apply.

Now it’s a big shock to me because I was used to all Asians to be like, you know, maybe you’re not known to be sexy and all that. Nowadays it’s changing like into the Badlands. If you’re not a fan of that, go support it please for Asian men, Daniel Wu man. But I’m used to it. At least you have the good stuff that comes from being a good academic background and all. Hardworking and so on, right.

That doesn’t apply in Asia! Because everybody’s Asian. There are lazy Asians and there are lots of them. Lots of under achievers, lots of people who take shit for granted, there are lots of people who – especially I think in the more developed countries like Singapore, I would say even more so in Singapore because they’re coddled and sheltered and they’re fed lies and you know as far as their society goes about what Asian culture is and what Confucianism is, a great way to keep society, keep them down and I’m going to talk about that in a future video because a guy asked about that in the group. Lots of… whole separate longer video.

And what’s happened is, I’ve had to realize over the eight years here in this region that the average person, the average Asian, men and women have very low standards when it comes to what they do with their lives. A lot of them have this activity called surfing the internet. Like that’s an activity. I ask them, how do you spend your Saturday? I want to know why he’s not getting any women in his life and that’s a great way to gauge what he does in his free time, his Saturdays is spent surfing the internet.

Doing chores at home. Okay, what kind of chores? Laundry… he doesn’t even do laundry. Like that’s already really rare for him to say that. Most of the time they just surf the internet. I don’t even know what to say to that because that’s not my reality. Like you should be ashamed of yourself. You just fucking surf the internet and play computer games, what a loser.

So like here’s the problem right… here’s why you all overthink shit. You have not enough things going on in your life. This is something, this is a great way to just crush it in life, in all areas in life. All you got to do is pack in a lot of things, then you don’t have the luxury of thinking about things.

You just got to go to the next thing. If you have your schedule and you pack in like extra courses and you’re going to take MMA and you’re going to get a private trainer to work at the gym and you’re going to do yoga, you’re going to do salsa dancing, you’re going to learn a new language so you’ve got to do that 3 times a week and then you got to go to the language exchange programs to practice with real people because you can’t just learn a language 3 hours a week, you have to go and use it. Then on top of that, you got to travel.

So you’re packing in this travel, all weekend travel with two nights over here. It’s easy for Singaporeans to do that, you know, just go out and travel. And you’re organizing parties either at your house or you’re organizing them somewhere else like in a bar or something with your friends out. You have goals and you go and meet them. You are over ambitious even with what you want to accomplish that year, five years out, ten years out.

Just be a good Asian-Fucking-American. In other words, pretend like your whole life is a preparation to apply for Oxford, or Harvard or something like that. Then you will have no time to overthink because you won’t have the fucking luxury to overthink. You know what the kind of questions that are most common for me over the past 10 years as a coach? Is somebody who sends me his fucking text messages, right?

He says, here are the text messages – this disgusting, lengthy thing just copy-pasted blah, no analysis whatsoever – here are my text messages, “Tell me what’s going wrong?”.

Here’s the problem. Usually when I start to read this agonizingly horrible text messages exchange with him and the girl, it’s quite obvious to me what the problem is. But it’s not going to be easy for him to decipher it. It’s sort of like telling somebody who’s tone deaf to listen to the fact that he’s a little bit out of tune or not even a little bit. Let me take another analogy on that. Here’s the problem, the fact that you can sit there and fucking look at your text messages is already overthinking.

You know guys who are naturally good with women, because their lifestyles are awesome and because their just fucking on their purposes and values and in life. What their text messaging is like, “huh!”, they ask themselves, “what do I want to text”. Okay text it, done. She replies, if he has time to look at it because he’s busy, because his life is awesome, because he’s living a life that’s packed full of great activities that make him a better person.

When he gets the chance, the time, the free time to look at the text and replies, he just replies whatever he wants to reply. And he’s naturally busy. He’s not sitting there with no life surfing the internet waiting for the girl to reply.

Some guys, you can see on the Facebook group, ask for opinions, about a text message exchange that was like three messages from him, two from her, three messages from him… okay, so it’s been like 24 hours and she hasn’t replied. What do you think? Are you fucking kidding me? Do you have no other life?

Here’s what you should be doing. You should be packing your life full of… tons of activities that you really, really, really enjoy. And then when these messages come in, you text whatever the fuck you want. And if she doesn’t reply, you don’t have time… you don’t have time… because you’re doing other more important things. And if you’re doing really important things with your life that you are really passionate and care a lot about, all you got to do is tweak it.

Tweak your life, tweak your lifestyle, tweak your schedule so that you incorporate women into it. It’s as easy as fuck. Let me give you an example. Instead of playing guitar alone in your room for two hours practicing, go out and busk on the streets. Here’s a great example of how that can get you women.

Go google “American Idol” – sorry not “American Idol”, it’s “x Factor”. There was a year when there’s a couple who won it. I can’t even remember their names now. But they were being mentored by that really rude guy. Can’t believe I’m forgeting his name right now… Collin… Simon Cowell was mentoring them and they won the whole thing. Just go google it, you find it, it’s a couple and how did they meet?

Well the dude was busking out of the back of the truck or something like that, the girl walked by, liked his voice, liked his music, just turned around and talked to him. I mean that’s the easiest, most straightforward way. You’re doing something you really enjoy, something you’re really passionate about and it draws people in. So don’t do it in the quiet of your room, join a band. Perform!

If you’re playing guitar, as a Christian, you can join a praise and worship team. Form a band and perform as much as you can. I mean, that’s how the best way to improve actually is just to perform a lot like the Beatles used to like play in strip clubs like 8 hours a day or whatever. You know, getting their chops.

If you can do… so instead of just working out with weights alone like I do. That’s me, I don’t go to the gym to meet women. But if you don’t have enough women in your life, then instead of doing solitary weight lifting by yourself in the gym just to get big so that women will like you, instead, join a group class that has women in it.

So join a yoga class once a week. Or a Pilates class. Join an MMA class that is women friendly. Like a BJJ women friendly class. Or boxing class. Women and models really love boxing now because it’s been shown to be such a great cardio vascular exercise. And so join a group. Join a group setting that includes women in it instead of doing solitary activities. Just do the group version of it, and make sure that there are women in that group. It’s as simple as that. Then you’ll meet like-minded women, you will meet like-minded women. Okay, enough on that one.

You know the reason why you guys overthink things? Because you have too much free time. You have too much free time. Pack in your schedule so you don’t have the luxury of overthinking. And you’re going to achieve so much, it’s going to be awesome! Write to me when you make your millions, your billions and you let me know how it goes.

Because why? You have as much time as Elon Musk. Let me repeat that, you have as much time as Elon Musk. You also have as much time as president of the United States and he works out every day, so go and do it.

Okay! See you in the private Facebook group. That means you have to click on that link and join the group. Interact with me there, love to answer your questions, sometimes I’ll answer them right away. Alright! See you in the group! Until then, man up!