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Life Advice

Mastering the Mind: How High Achievers Overcome Thought Traps and Anxiety

By Antal International

Are negative experiences and interactions taking up too much space in your mind? Do you find yourself more stressed, less creative, and closed off to potential solutions? 

Well, you're not alone. The human brain has a negativity bias where we naturally attribute more weight to negative experiences and interactions than positives ones. In this edition of talent talks, we're diving deep into the world of cognitive distortions and the 3 thought traps that many professionals fall into. We'll provide practical strategies to help you overcome them, and ultimately perform better. And for those experiencing long-term unemployment, we've got you covered too. We'll discuss how to avoid a loss of confidence and self-worth during these challenging times. 


⚖ The first trap that professionals fall into is all-or-nothing thinking. It is one of the most common cognitive distortions. This type of thinking leads to a black and white view of the situation, where everything is either perfect or completely wrong. For example, if a job interview does not go exactly as planned, a person who thinks "all or nothing" might conclude that the whole event was a failure. Seeking feedback from a recruiter can help provide alternative perspectives on a situation. If you missed an important deadline, it doesn't necessarily mean you are incompetent. It simply means you overlooked a crucial detail, which can serve as a learning experience and provide insight into your work ethic and priorities. It's worth considering seeking guidance to help evaluate situations objectively and improve your professional development.


 The second trap is labelling: attaching a negative label to oneself or others. For instance, if a job seeker receives a rejection email, they may start to think, "I'm not good enough for any job" or "I'm a failure at job searching." This kind of labeling can be harmful and lead to a sense of hopelessness. It's important to recognize when these thoughts occur and replace them with more accepting and non-judgmental ways of thinking. Instead of labeling oneself as a failure, it's better to acknowledge that rejection is a common part of the job search process and that everyone makes mistakes. High achievers set realistic and achievable goals for themselves. By doing so, they are better able to avoid labelling themselves as "not good enough" when they don't achieve an unrealistic goal. This strategy will help recognize your progress and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small.


Jumping to conclusions: This cognitive distortion tricks us into thinking we absolutely know what’s going to happen in the future. We often tends to predict the worst case situation eventually having a negative impact in our professional experiences. This can take the form of fortune telling, where we predicts that things will go wrong, even without evidence. Many job seekers may believe they are unqualified for a particular position or that their application will be ignored, leading them to skip applying altogether. By doing so, they are jumping to conclusions without giving themselves a fair chance to be considered for the job. To counter this, it is important to ask whether there is any evidence to support the negative assumption and to recall past experiences where similar assumptions have been proven wrong. When you are predicting that only the worst will happen, balance this out by thinking about what would be the best outcome of any given situation. Most likely, the result will be somewhere in between these two extremes.


While cognitive distortions can interfere with your work, high performers have the natural ability to combat these thought patterns through active monitoring, reframing, seeking feedback and setting realistic goals. By adopting these strategies, you can cultivate a positive mindset, overcome cognitive distortions, and improve your performance. Hence, integrating these strategies into daily life can be a valuable tool for improving performance and overall well-being. 


Take the first step towards a fulfilling career and personal growth. Visit our website for expert advice, career hacks, and a range of resources to help you improve your skills, and land your dream job.

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