Dont think right or wrong, just think
Do not confuse what you think reality is with reality itself. Thinking clearer and thinking better is all about expanding our perspective and being able to separate ideas from hunches and beliefs from facts.
Work by psychologist Aaron Beck, often referred to as the father of cognitive therapy, and his former student, David Burns, uncovered several common ways of thinking that have negative impacts on our lives namely:
- Jumping to conclusions – Do we jump to conclusions without weighing up all the options?
- Mental filtering – Do we see reality the way it truly is or are we filtering out most of the information that our 5 senses are receiving? What am I filtering out?
- Magnifying and Minimizing – Do we magnify the negative aspects of the situation or minimize the positive?
- Personalizing – Do we take things personally and think everything is about “me”.
- Externalizing – Do we push the blame for problems onto others even when we are primarily responsible?
- Overgeneralizing – Do we over generalize and conclude that one bad incident many years ago will lead to a repeated pattern of defeat in all situations to come?
- Emotional reasoning – Do we reason emotionally and assume that our negative emotions translate into reality and ultimately confuse feelings with facts?
Ultimately, how we see reality affects how we think, what we we do and how we feel. If we want to be enjoy our time here on earth and succeed in what we set out to do we need to expand our reality and empower ourselves to think clearer.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor E. Frankl. When the world around us dictates our emotions then we are reacting. Move from a reactive lifestyle to a responsive one. Learn to start being respons-ABLE instead of reactive. If creating a space between the stimulus and response is too high of a task for you then learn to simply not act at all and be like a piece of wood until you can think clearly. “Create space and decide clearly or be a log!”
If we have not already developed more complex ways of thinking and we find ourselves caught up in a sticky situation then do not be afraid to ask. Ask a friend or a family member or a mentor to reflect and hear your side of the story (knowing that this is only your side of the story). This may be more difficult than you think because we will want to justify our reality to the people we talk to. “Be honest and ask a friend!“
In conclusion, We need to remember to “be certain”, “Create space and decide clearly or be a log”, “Be honest and ask a friend”.