Week Two Challenge: Thinking Styles that Get in the Way of Success  

Welcome to Week Two! I’m hoping that everyone is feeling a little more self-aware because it is needed to go into this week’s Challenge. So there’s this saying “Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can get done today”. Heard of it? It’s like the anti-procrastination slogan. Even though some of us might know this, we still will wait until “the right time” to start a project or goal. Such as, I’ll start my diet and go to the gym on Monday. The main reason associated with this, is the belief that the week is already ruined. This is one of many ways our thinking styles can jeopardize our success.

Everyone has a unique lens in which they see life. However there are some shared perceptions that tend to get in the way. Below are the top 5 unhelpful thinking styles that I see occur more often:

  •  All or Nothing Thinking- This thinking style feeds the procrastination of starting projects at a later time. Those of us who tend to chase perfection will get caught in this trap quite often. Look out for sayings such as. “Either I’ll do it right or not at all”, “If I’m not going to do it for a whole week then what’s the point”.


  • Disqualifying the Positive- If you find yourself saying “Yeah, but that doesn’t count” you are most likely disqualifying the positive. Sometimes it’s easier to see the positive qualities in others, but when it comes to ourselves, we expect more and don’t give ourselves credit for what we have accomplished.


  • Emotional reasoning- For this one I always say Feelings are not Facts! Yet when we are experiencing them, feeling can be overpowering where we take them as truth. If you find yourself thinking “I feel embarrassed so that means I made a mistake” or I feel nervous, I can’t do this” you just may be using your emotions as the sole means to interpret a situation. Just because you feel nervous, does not mean that you are not capable.


  •  Labeling- “What is wrong with you”, “I’m so Stupid”, “How could you have missed that”, “You failed that’s just what you do”. These harsh words hold a lot of weight. When we label ourselves as Stupid, Selfish, Failure we tend to hold on to that label as if it were our identity. Where sadly it does become a part of our identity overtime.


  • Jumping to Conclusions- There are two ways this thinking style manifests: as either mind reading or fortune telling.  Remember the line "They’re all going to laugh at you!" from the classic Carrie movie (1976).  This is an example of fortune telling where you "predict" the outcome of an event which usually does not play in your favor. A more common example of mind reading and fortune telling is "They think I'm stupid and won't listen to what I have to say anyway". 

While these are the five most common that I've seen in my practice, there are actually 10 that commonly occur in individuals. 

Challenge: Review this sheet that list all 10 of the unhelpful thinking styles. Identify which ones you use and then Catch Yourself in the Act!!! When you notice you are using an unhelpful way of thinking try to identify reasons why that way of thinking may not be true. 

Example: Every time I try to take time for myself or do something good, something always happens. This is why I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Bad things always happen to me. (This is an example of overgeneralizing) Well, I guess bad things aren't always happening to me. Last week went really well, and today isn't completely ruined by this one thing. 

All the best for the week ahead!


**Worksheet Courtesy of http://psychology.tools**