The Circumstantial Influences on our Thinking

Dan Beverly

It’s a useful skill to be able to notice our flawed thinking and self-limiting beliefs. Bringing this autopilot thinking into conscious awareness enables us with responsibility and choice. And we can create different results.

But equally useful – and something I’ve noticed I mention far less frequently than the thinking itself – is to take note of the circumstances of our thinking. That is: what’s going on at the time? And what you’ll begin to notice is patterns and links between the context and the thinking. And we can use that as a kind of early warning system.

Think now of a few instances where you were guilty of twisted thinking or limiting beliefs. What do those moments have in common? Where were you? Who were you with? What was the challenge you faced?

For some, it’ll be who they’re with or where they are. For others, it’ll be what they’re doing (or avoiding!).

For me, my most error-prone thinking circumstance is in the correction of mistakes, particularly those my unconscious perceives as a “threat” to my reputation. Of course objectively, they’re hardly anything quite so dramatic. It’s just a mistake. But in that circumstance, I’ve noticed my flawed thinking can quickly kick in.

Now I’ve noticed this, I can take preventative steps. I have my early-warning-system that tells me to slow down and re-examine my thinking whenever I’m working to correct a mistake. And that’s saved me time, money and heartache more than once, since.

So, my question to you: what are your most error-prone thinking circumstances? And what might you do to setup your own early warning system?

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