Tracing Your Sources

Goal: Build awareness of the factors driving your negative predictions

Estimated time: 5–15 minutes

Pick several negative predictions (which you’ll have at your fingertips if you’ve completed Exercise 1 in Chapter 5), and start tracing their origins. For each one, ask yourself two questions: 1) When did I start having this negative prediction? and 2) Where do I think it’s coming from? Consider the following possibilities:

  • Fear of the unknown
  • Attempts to manage your emotions (for instance, trying to avoid being disappointed)
  • Generalizations from negative experiences in the past or present
  • Mind-reads (assumptions about others’ thoughts or feelings)
  • Other fixed ideas (beliefs about how the world works, the kinds of bad things that tend to happen to you, the way your company or family or political group behaves, etc.)
  • A general tendency to expect the worst
  • Any other factors you can identify

For a review of each of these factors, turn back to the section of Chapter 5 entitled “Why Do We Expect the Worst?” You may want to record your notes in the form of a table (see the example below).

My Prediction When it started My sources
I won’t get promoted in this company. 2 years ago - Past experience
- Fixed ideas about what happens to me
- Mind-reads of my boss

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