December 31, 2008

Thought Trap #6: Fortune telling



Thought Trap #6: Fortune telling

Continuing on in the series on Thought Traps.

You predict that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction will be 100% correct.

This seems to be an appropriate thought trap to address on this last day of 2008. Some of us are making resolutions, some are setting goals. Some have predicted that 2009 will be their best year ever and some, unfortunately, have predicted that things will never improve.

Who's right? Who knows? We can't predict the future.

Yet every day, people convince themselves that their presentations won't be any good, that they won't be able to keep the audience's attention, that something will go wrong. They believe that fear is not only inevitable, but out of their control.

You won't know how the presentation is going to go until you deliver it. But I guarantee that there are things you can do to mitigate your concerns. Like adequate preparation and audience research. Like visualization and relaxation. Like putting your audience first and making the presentation about them and not you.

Maybe it will be great! Maybe it won't. Sometimes your fears do come true. But that doesn't mean every presentation will be terrible. We all have our ups and downs. The important thing is that you are okay with that. Negative predictions and assumptions become self-fulfilling prophecies!

Predict the positive. Expect the best from yourself.

Here again, suggestions on how to approach these negative thoughts once you become aware of them (from a Mother Jones article about cognitive therapy and thought traps):

1. Write it down. Writing automatically provides perspective and helps reveal distorted thinking.

2. Identify the distressing event. What's really bothering you?

3. Identify your negative emotions.

4. Identify the negative thoughts tied to your emotions.

5. Identify distortions and substitute the truth.

And my addition:

6. Take action. What will you do differently next time?


** May 2009 be your best year yet, both personally and professionally! **

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