9 Ways your Thinking might be Distorted!
What is Cognitive Bias? How can we recognise it? And how can we stop doing it?
"You are today where your thoughts have brought you.
You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you".
Cognitive bias is patterns of distorted thinking.
We all think in distorted ways from time to time.
But some more than others.
Problems arise when we have cognitive bias more than not...
It is important to remember that your thoughts are not necessarily correct and may be heavily skewed for a variety of reasons.
Thoughts become inaccurate and exaggerated in distorted thinking.
People often think in absolutes with no grey areas.
The problem is that once we start 'thinking errors', we tend to stick with them.
They become assumptions and beliefs, and they are retained, unless...
...we make an effort to identify and change them.
So how do we do that?
There are 9 Distorted Ways of Thinking;
And what we must do is learn to recognise them.
Once we can spot ourselves thinking in some or all of these ways, we can stop ourselves and find alternative, more realistic and helpful ways of thinking...
So here are the 9 Distorted Ways of Thinking:
1. Generalising the specific. e.g. "Everyone thinks I'm boring".
Maybe one colleague thinks you're boring, but probably not everyone, right?
2. Mind-reading. "I can tell she doesn't like me".
Really? How do you know? Are you a mind-reader?
3. Magnification & Filtering.
Magnifying the negatives of a situation, whilst at the same time filtering out any positives.
4. Polarised thinking. All or Nothing thinking. Everything is either Black or White. Good or Bad. There is no middle ground. There is no room for negotiation.
You expect DISASTER!! What If's... My life will be over!!
6. Personalisation. Everything that people do or say is some reaction to you. You often feel criticised.
7. Blaming (The opposite of Personalisation). Everything is always everybody else's fault! You are always the victim.
8. Self-blame. You feel responsible for the pain and happiness of everyone around you.
9. Rigid thinking. Only your opinions and actions are correct.
Everybody else is wrong. You pressure and cajole people to change their views and actions to fit in with you.
"I can't see why people don't see things my way!".
How many of these do you spot yourself doing?
Now don't worry...
We all do some of them from time to time.
The problem is when we do these ways of thinking more often than not, to the point of excluding all other possible ways of thinking...
My next BLOG post will show us how we can change our ways of thinking from Cognitive Bias, to more realistic, positive, and helpful ways of thinking...
In the meantime, try to catch yourself whenever you may be thinking in these distorted ways.
And next time we'll learn what to do next to change our thinking for the better...