4 Types of Negative Thinking That Erode Your Mental Resilience (Part II)

Endurance has more to do with interpretation than with the objective reality of adverse events in our lives. It takes much more effort to let go of the meanings we’ve interpreted from our failures and hardships in life. Comparatively, it’s much easier to hold on to negativity because it does not call for action; it merely requires passive commiserating. 

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The opportunity cost of indulging in such negative thinking is astronomically high. Until we free ourselves from the fallacies of our mental weaknesses, we willingly allow ourselves to be held hostage by negativity. As such, here’s how we can change the way we interpret negativity in our lives, in the hopes of becoming more mentally resilient. 

P.S. Fortify yourself with the bulletproof armour of mental resilience with SSA Academy’s WSQ course on applying emotional competence to manage oneself at work!

[MORE] Read part 1 here.

1. All-or-nothing thinking

AKA: “Not doing it is better than doing it halfway.”

 

What it looks like: 

Maybe you’ve been wanting to start a side-hustle for years now. You’ve researched, planned, and strategised everything out meticulously. All that you need is to make that first step. Because of limited resources, though, your plans keep getting derailed. So you find yourself consistently delaying them because for you, it’s “go big or go home.” In the end, though, nothing gets done, and your side-hustle dreams remain precisely that: a non-reality. 

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Why it’s bad: 

It’s the hallmark of self-sabotaging perfectionism. Most of the time, we associate perfectionism with over-achieving. As with everything in life, though, there are always two sides to the same coin. 

Because perfectionists often expect nothing but the very best from themselves and others, they also tend to get stuck in ruts more easily. There are only so many times you can tell yourself you’d rather not do it at all than do it halfway. Sooner or later, it turns into chronic procrastination and self-sabotage. 

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How to change it: 

Some progress is better than none. There’s nothing wrong with scaling down your expectations and downsizing for the time being. More often than not, growth is the cumulative effect of thousands of small steps rather than overnight successes. Getting your foot in the door and taking that difficult first step is critical. 

Put your expectations aside and make your first move. Once you gain momentum, you can build bigger and better plans.

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2. Catastrophising

AKA: Making a mountain out of a molehill. 

 

What it looks like: 

That co-worker who goes into all-out panic mode the minute he receives a complaint from a customer, or the teammate who has a meltdown when plans hit a snag. 

 

Why it’s bad: 

You’re sliding down a slippery slope of irrational, loosely connected, cumulative disaster. Instead of keeping your wits about you and reasoning about how to solve the situation at hand, you go off on a tangent and end up putting yourself and those around you on edge unnecessarily. 

Worse, you make others feel jittery and on edge as well, ultimately compromising their focus and performance on the job. 

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How to change it: 

First, police your thoughts and play your own devil’s advocate. When you start worrying about the worst-case scenario, catch yourself and ask yourself how realistic is it that that scenario would occur. 

Secondly, work on your self-efficacy. Improve your skills and keep getting better so that you know you’re more than well-equipped to handle whatever worst-case scenario comes your way. If you know and trust in your ability to manage and overcome those challenges, you’ll be less affected by them in the short and long haul. 

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