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Saturday, 11 June 2016

Think Positive

There are people around whom we feel good and there are others who seem to drain the energy out of us. These two sets of people have certain distinct traits that set them apart from each other. The biggest difference is their approach when things get unpleasant or uncomfortable.

For example, let’s assume that X makes a mistake that leads to a chain of events that make him unhappy. Say he spent days on preparing a report in painstaking detail. On D-Day, the boss takes just a cursory glance at it and at once, points out some errors in paragraph formatting and an image missing a caption and asks X to re-do that part.

There are several ways in which X can respond:
He may start feeling he is a failure because he didn’t get the report perfectly right – this is a type of thinking called as “all or none.”

He may feel hurt or offended because he’s just reacting emotionally without examining whether the boss is right.

He may say, “Why does this always happen to me?” and stow this event in his memory, ready to be dragged out the next time something unpleasant happens. This is called “over-generalizing” – you use one particular instance to start feeling that the same thing is going to repeat.

He may see this incident as proof that the boss doesn’t like him and is always looking for reasons to belittle him. This is called “catastrophizing” – exaggerating the importance of an unpleasant event to make it feel more significant than it actually is.


X can make a note of the errors the boss pointed out and take a re-look to correct them.

He can look at the incident in perspective – it was an error and the boss, being a boss, has to ensure there are no mistakes; so he was justified in pointing it out.

Let’s say the boss has been unduly harsh in pointing out what is a minor mistake. X may choose to realize that it is an overreaction that may have been triggered by something else and therefore, not take it personally to avoid feeling hurt over it.

The first set of responses are self-defeating thoughts that lead X to feel “I’m worthless.” This type of a thinking pattern can be overcome if X asks himself a few questions:

• Is what the boss saying, the truth? What is the proof it’s true? Would other people too agree he is right?
• Am I feeling bad because I think all my effort didn’t get recognized?
• Am I jumping to conclusions because I’m not feeling good about this?
• Is there any other explanation for such a response from my boss?
• How important will this be after a few days?

The trick is to catch yourself in this self-defeating thought pattern and then, work towards re-framing the negative thoughts in a positive way. However much we may want things to go our way, it is quite obvious that other people’s behavior is not in our control; all we can try to change is our own responses to situations to minimize the pain we undergo every time something goes against our desire.


  1. Nice one.Very important too,at all times

  2. Another good piece to ponder upon. Sometimes we have a bad day but we need to look at it from the other person's perspective.

  3. Another good piece to ponder upon. Sometimes we have a bad day but we need to look at it from the other person's perspective.


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