Do you view the glass as half-full or half-empty? I hope you said “neither” — it’s never good to see the world through a single filter. The fact is, every gear in your car does something different. What would happen if you got stuck in neutral? The same can be said of the way that you view things. How do you see the world?
How Do You See the World?
Unfortunately, we often fall victim to “thinking traps” that influence our feelings and impact our behavior. It’s not a matter of lacking intelligence, but rather of being blinded by a filter that distorts our thinking process. For example, if you wake up thinking that today’s going to be awesome, you’ll likely be happier and more productive than if you fear that problems are lurking around every corner. If you look for problems hard enough, you’re bound to find one.
The key is to know how you see the world and to manage it accordingly. Do these 20 behavioral filters sound familiar?
- Mental filter. Some folks have blinders on. They view situations from one perspective — they’re unable or unwilling to see other viewpoints.
- Black or white. Some people focus on extremes and exclude everything in-between. They see everything as good or bad, right or wrong, all or nothing.
- Overgeneralization. Some folks turn a single situation into a sweeping generalization. They assume that because “one teacher is lazy,” the whole school is terrible.
- Labeling. Some people label a group based on the behavior of a few members.
- Jumping to conclusions. Some folks reach a conclusion without any evidence to support their claim.
- Magnifying. Some people blow things out of proportion by magnifying the positive and minimizing the negative — or vice versa. This can be taken to extremes. “I made a mistake, so my life is over.”
- Half-truth. Some folks focus on one-half of the equation and ignore the other. For example, they focus on the discount and lose sight of the cost of a purchase.
- One way. Some people think it’s their way or the highway. They expect others to conform to their way of thinking. Period.
- Entitlement. Some folks believe rules that apply to others shouldn’t apply to them.
- Self-worth. Some people overstate the value of something simply because it’s theirs. “My kid is a superstar. She should play the whole game.”
- Emotional reasoning. Some folks make their feelings their reality. “I’m afraid, so it must be dangerous.”
- Victimization. Some people feel helpless. They believe life isn’t fair — the outcome is predetermined. “It doesn’t pay to try.”
- Fortune telling. Some folks think they can predict the future; they use that view as the basis for their actions and decisions.
- Mind reading. Some people believe they know what others are thinking — even if they don’t have evidence.
- Idealism. Some folks view the world through rose-colored glasses — the way it should be becomes their reality.
- Conformity. Some people jump on the bandwagon; they accept the views of others with little or no thought.
- Denial. Some folks feel so strongly about an issue that they wall themselves off from information that threatens their view.
- Blame. Some people blame others for their misfortune. Conversely, some others blame themselves for everything.
- Self-doubt. Some folks turn a positive experience into a negative one. If they win an award, they’re likely to say, “I didn’t really deserve it. I probably won because…”
- Righteous. Some people always have to be right.
Are any of these filters distorting your thinking process? When you see things through a rigid filter, it influences your mood, colors your decisions, and shades your outlook. In fact, it’ll impact the way you view the world. The truth is, your perception becomes your reality. How do you see the world?
How Do You See the World Around You?
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