Mindreading: What Are We Doing?
The mental trap of mindreading and unbalanced conclusions
A four-question conversation about the trouble we put ourselves in with our thinking habits or choices and how we interpret what is happening and how we can sabotage ourselves when we fall short of our expectations.
Hypnotherapist at Mion Hypnosis
Co-trainer at Zulauf Communications
Why can mental traps be problematic?
Our subconscious mind cannot really differentiate between real and imagined, so it reacts to the things that happen to us but also to the things we imagine. So you waste energy, that is missing somewhere else, if you get trapped in these ways of thinking.
What are some of the most common mental traps?
What I have seen very often with people is mindreading where they are completely sure that they know what others think. This makes it so they do not react to the other person, but to what they think the other person thinks.
This can cause a lot of misunderstandings and wasted energy.
I once had a client who came to me because he was being pushed around by his boss for years. My client was always afraid to push back because he imagined how his dominant boss would fire him if he spoke up.
So he decided to quit. I told him that now that he will leave anyways he should tell his boss how he felt. The next session he told me he went to tell his boss how he felt. The boss told him that he always knew my client had it in him (to speak up). He promoted him.
Now he had a new problem, because he didn't know whether he should quit or take the promotion. If he would not have tried to mindread he would have had a much better experience.
Giving Up Too Easily When Clear Progress is Being Made
Many people do not think very balanced. If they want to change something they do it for some time but when they slip up once, they tell themselves that they have failed instead of seeing all the moments where they did succeed.
This is also a lack of baselining, which means that if they for instance want to stop smoking they count every cigarette smoked as a failure, because their goal is zero.
But if they would see their current state as the baseline then every cigarette less is a success and it would feel great to make progress.
What are successful communication approaches — how we communicate to ourselves or others — for questioning these conclusions and habits we have, (which are usually on autopilot) to overcome them?
Very often the big problem is that people put all their focus and thus energy in to something that is incorrect. So the best way to stop this is to allow yourself to be wrong and ask yourself "What else could it be?" and find at least two possibilities.
If you are dealing with a person that acts or communicates in a certain way, try not to react to the communication itself but ask yourself what the emotion behind it is.
You can also ask directly “are you trying to put me down? Are you trying to make me feel bad?"
Michael Toebe writes “Reputation Notes” and is the founder and specialist at Reputation Quality, a practice that serves and assists successful people and organizations in further building reputation as an asset and responsibly, ethically protecting, restoring or reconstructing it.
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