Saturday, July 14, 2012

STOP! 15 Negative Thought Patterns to Avoid Part 2

Blame It
Blame It (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
IAFF has this list of positive and negative thinking that you should watch out for. Too bad they didn't list an author, but it's good reading, as it applies both to your self-thoughts and to arguments.

I'll discuss the 15 negative thoughts in three parts, as I explain why these negative thinking will hurt you through illogical thinking and other biases.

Here's part 2, the second 5 negative thought patterns.  (see part 1)

6. Personalization:  This is the tendency to relate everything around you to yourself.   For example, thinking that everything people do or say is some kind of reaction to you.  You also compare yourself to others, trying to determine who's smarter, better looking, etc.  The underlying assumption is that your worth is in question.  You are therefore continually forced to test your value as a person by measuring yourself against others.   If you come out better, you get a moment's relief.  If you come up short, you feel diminished.  The basic thinking error is that you interpret each experience, each conversation, each look as a clue to your worth and value.
In other words, you take "anecdotal fallacy" to the extreme, everything is only related to you and you alone, to the point of paranoia. You are the ultimate narcissist. You see everything is a competition, and every word as a measure of your self-worth. Stop that! Even if you get rich you won't be happy!

It is interesting that many people enrolled in suspect schemes have this "personalization" problem as they treat ANY comments regarding the scheme as personally as possible. It is as if he was personally insulted. 

Solution is simple: stop taking things so personally. 

7. Control Fallacies:  There are two ways you can distort your sense of power and control.  If you feel externally controlled, you see yourself as helpless, a victim of fate.  The fallacy of internal control has you responsible for the pain and happiness of everyone around you.  Feeling externally controlled keeps you stuck.  You don't believe you can really affect the basic shape of your life, let alone make any difference in the world.  The truth of the matter is that we are constantly making decisions, and that every decision affects our lives.  On the other hand, the fallacy of internal control leaves you exhausted as you attempt to fill the needs of everyone around you, and feel responsible in doing so (and guilty when you cannot).
Type A control fallacy (i.e. "you have no control") blames everything else (see below) for any ills they suffer, and this leads to further paranoia, and personalization (see above). Eventually it will lead to polarization (see part 1). 

Type B control fallacy (i.e. "I can control everything") often end up failing to balance work and life, and end up exhausted, and still not managed to get things done. This often leads to blame (see below). 

Participants of suspect scams are frequently blamers, who blames everybody else for their own failures, including critics, downlines, uplines, "lack of support" from the company, and so on. In several cases, rather than acknowledge the scam, they blame their downlines for being lazy.  Or they blame "rogue affiliates" (certainly not themselves). 
8. Fallacy of Fairness:  You feel resentful because you think you know what's fair, but other people won't agree with you.  Fairness is so conveniently defined, so temptingly self-serving, that each person gets locked into his or her own point of view.  It is tempting to make assumptions about how things would change if people were only fair or really valued you.  But the other person hardly ever sees it that way, and you end up causing yourself a lot of pain and an ever-growing resentment.
What is "fair" depends on one's world view, and can be further influenced by "priming", "foot-in-door", propaganda, and other persuasion techniques. And when that idea became an IDEOLOGY, esp. when it involves money, this can be really to convince that someone to UNLEARN the "wrong" definition of fair. 

A lot of the scheme participants use "it paid me" argument because to them, anything that helps the "99%" is "fair" for them. As long as they are not hurting fellow 99% (or at least, pretend NOT to know such thing) they are willing to defend their method of making money. To them, it's fair for them to make money, as long as they don't ask where the money ultimately comes from. 

9. Blaming:  You hold other people responsible for your pain, or take the other tack and blame yourself for every problem.  Blaming often involves making someone else responsible for choices and decisions that are actually our own responsibility.  In blame systems, you deny your right (and responsibility) to assert your needs, say no, or go elsewhere for what you want.
Suspect scheme members LOVE the blame game, except they don't do it very often. Instead, the scammer use the blame game, and the members accept the blame. 

In many cases, the scammer lead the victims to believe that it's the GOVERNMENT that's the boogeyman, the bad guy, and only if the scam be allowed to continue will the victims get paid. Scammer blamed the government, and the victims readily accepted the blame target. In Ad Surf Daily, several members sued the Federal government for wrongful prosecution and such. Their case was tossed out of court. 

10. Shoulds:  You have a list of ironclad rules about how you and other people should act.  People who break the rules anger you, and you feel guilty if you violate the rules.  The rules are right and indisputable and, as a result, you are often in the position of judging and finding fault (in yourself and in others).  Cue words indicating the presence of this distortion are should, ought, and must.
The "should" thoughts also leads to other problems, such as personalization ("darn drivers are just out to get me!"), blaming ("Those guys are what drives up my insurance rates!"), and so on and so forth. The "angry driver" and "road rage" are often cases of "should". 

As you can see, these negative thought patterns feed into themselves, and are interrelated. One thought leads to another, leads to another, forming an overall pattern. 

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