Look (with your Mind’s Eye) Before you Leap
In the course of a day we meet or interact with a number of people, some briefly, and some as part of a business or friendship connection. If we could step back and view the actions of our mind during these encounters, we may discover something quite interesting. As we attend to the situation we seem to be automatically making some kind of evaluation of the experience. Some of the evaluation is cursory but some is more in-depth and with consequential implications for our self-esteem in either a positive or negative direction. Our mind may be quickly jumping to a negative interpretation of the situation. This is another way that our mind can trick us into thinking something that is not entirely true. “Jumping to Conclusions” is a very common thinking error that works against us because it signifies that we are in a hurry to evaluate this communication.
There are two ways that this ‘jumping’ can occur:
Mind Reading: This unique skill is your ability to look closely at a person’s forehead and read their thoughts as the conversation unfolds. This talent then leads to drawing some conclusions without checking them out. For example, you are chatting with a colleague over lunch and he looks over at someone else as you are speaking. You automatically assume that he thinks the conversation is a waste of time and you are boring. Or, another example – You just received a phone call from your boss to drop into to her office later in the day. You immediately start to edit your resume in preparation for another position.
Fortune Telling: This skill results from your highly-sensitive crystal ball as you see the future, and often your crystal ball indicates that things are going to turn out badly. For example, you refuse an invitation to a social event because you know that you won’t have a good time; and you know the food will be awful, and you know that everyone will find you boring. Or, another example – You turn down an opportunity to share your early thoughts on your new project to your supervisor because you know he will try to take over and thereby limiting your ability to be creative and to own the project.
There is a broader notion at work here. Both Mind Reading and Fortune Telling are examples of living by assumptions. Living with unsupported assumptions can lead to some challenging moments in relationships and friendships. The key action is to check out your assumptions. There needs to be evidence that what you are assuming or predicting is actually true. Even putting your response on ‘pause’ for a moment, rather than quickly leaping forward may help bring about a more useful and productive response.
Pay attention to what you are thinking!
Just a Thought…
From Willow Gove Counselling, Inc.