Dish on Distortions: #3 — Jumping to Conclusions

30 Jul

I’m not a mind reader. I’m not psychic. I can’t claim to have extrasensory perception. But I can attest to knowing a lot of people who do seem to possess these rare skills. Or, at least they act like they do. I suppose I’m not sure if they could actually tell me what I’m thinking right now or show me what is going to happen in my life within the next couple days, but they sure are superior at telling me what will happen in their own lives.

“I’m going to fall when I walk on that stage.”

“If I tell him how I really feel, he’ll laugh in my face.”

“There’s no way I’m going to be able to lift that weight.”

“I’m never going to be able to stop bingeing.”

Such statements I have heard over and over in my work, and each one has no shred of evidence to back it up. When they are thrown out there nonchalantly, impulsively by my clients, they take on immense power. Sound superstitious?

If you think it, you’ll believe it, and you’ll be it.

How often have you performed well when you’ve walked into a situation thinking, “This is going to  be a disaster.”  If you use this strategy to perform at the top of your game, email me. You’re an anomaly, and I must pick your brain. Literally!

Another common thinking error, assumption-making, is often fear-based.  We anticipate without evidence that someone will react poorly toward us, that someone is thinking negatively about us, or that something will turn out badly and not go the way we want it to, for example.

For most it has become automatic. Their mental scripts have been written through years of experiences and within the presence of models, dictating an approach to life that leaves little room for a positive mindset.  I’ve rarely heard a person jump to positive conclusions and have it lead to dysfunctionality!  We can miss the boat by not considering the evidence on either end of the spectrum.  But it should be clear just how damaging making a premature, negative conclusion can be.

Try this the next time you’re in the gym, getting ready to start your monster leg workout. Repeat to yourself, “This is going to be really  hard. I’m not sure I’ll make it through”.

Before you go to  bed tonight, start anticipating that you’re not going to fall asleep.

When your boss walks into your office with a scowl on his face Monday morning think, “He’s really mad at me.”

Report back and let me know how doing this impacted you.

On second thought, don’t. I’d like you to have an over-the-top amazing workout, sleep soundly throughout the night, and understand that your boss may have been the one who didn’t sleep on Sunday  night and that his scowl has nothing to do with you!

Do, however, take note of how often you jump to conclusions. Does doing so limit you from taking risks, moving forward with your goals,  or from creating relationships? Are you fearful of how you will be perceived b/c you assume you’ll look stupid or won’t  have much to offer? If you’re answering yes, it’s time to start taking some chances. Prove yourself wrong. Discover that there is no evidence for your assumptions.


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