Life is all about the way we think. Success and failure depend on our thinking pattern. Right behind our thoughts are our feelings.

When we think about more negative things, we generally hold ourselves down. When we change our thinking to focus on positive things around us, we are more likely to improve our outlook and our self-esteem.

Let me use a simple example: imagine you like someone, but you think they could never feel the same, so you don’t even try. Your thinking is stopping you.

Now, consider reversing your thinking. What if they say yes to me? This is where your positive thoughts about trying new things and accepting failures will help you succeed.

Changing your thinking pattern helps you to learn new things from your failures, take calculated risks, and live your life to the fullest.

Common Thinking Patterns

I couldn’t help but observe the way some of my friends and colleagues think, and I discovered a few things to which I’m sure you can relate, as well.

    * All-or-nothing thinking

    * Overgeneralization

    * Overthinking

All-or-Nothing Thinking

Let’s first talk about the all-or-nothing point of view, also known as black-and-white thinking. You either want the whole pizza or none at all. If you’re not successful, then you’re a total failure, because there’s nothing in between. This extreme thinking becomes a pattern, hindering you from working toward your goals.

The all-or-nothing mentality suppresses our self-esteem and self-worth. The biggest problem with this kind of thinking is that we create extreme, super-human expectations that are impossible to meet, and then blame ourselves for not meeting them.


We overgeneralize when we apply one bad experience to all experiences, including those that have not yet happened. For example, you hit a dog with your vehicle, and now you’re afraid to drive because you think you’ll hit a dog again. Or you tried cooking and burnt the whole meal, and now you brand yourself as a terrible cook based on that one incident.

This type of thinking prevents us from learning new things and slowly builds negativity into our daily routine.


Overthinking is a common issue. When you overthink, you spend most of your time thinking instead of doing. The reason overthinking is common is that as humans, we always anticipate how things will play out. But when we take it too far, then our fears and judgments take over, hindering us from transitioning from the thinking stage to the doing stage. Overthinking talks us out of accepting challenges that we could meet and discourages us from facing obstacles that we are able to conquer.

Changing Your Thinking Pattern

The first step toward changing your thinking pattern is filtering out negative aspects of every situation. For instance, imagine you were one step from achieving your goal, but because of unforeseen circumstances, you couldn’t reach it. You have a choice about how to react. You could overthink or overgeneralize the situation, or you could reflect on the positive aspects, such as how close you came to achieving your goal or how much you learned. Thinking this way will give you the courage to give it another shot.

When you change your thinking pattern, you alleviate your social anxiety. You reframe the situation in a positive way that brings you even closer to your short-term and long-term goals.

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