Unrealistic Expectations - Deepstash

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Fortunetelling, mind reading and jumping to conclusions

Unrealistic Expectations

An extreme of a cognitive distortion is believing that everything will happen according to the wishes, and would be perfect in every way.

But life can be miserable if a person is always having unrealistic expectations out of situations and people. Things are bound to go wrong too sometimes. Learn to be a realist.

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Jumping into Conclusions
Jumping to conclusions is a common phenomenon, where people prematurely decide and finalize something, without having sufficient information or choosing not to consider it.
Jumping into Conclusions: Examples
  • Inference-observation confusion: An assumption made that may or may not be correct. Example: Concluding that a guy is rich, based on the car he drives.
  • Fortune-Telling: Assumption of knowing exactly what will happen in the future.
  • Mind Reading: Assuming based on how to have read someone's mind and concluded something which may not be true.
  • Extreme Extrapolation: Finding a minor clue and making something major out of it.
  • Overgeneralization: Copy-pasting a piece of knowledge over something that you think is related, but is not.
  • Labeling: Stereotyping a set of people based on their likes and dislikes.
Why We Jump to Conclusions

The reason people jump to conclusions is the fact that they find it easy.

Fact-checking and 100 percent accuracy on everything they see or observe consume way too much time for a normal person.

Taking mental shortcuts is the path most people choose to jump to conclusions.

Jumping to conclusions
Jumping to conclusions

We are all prone to jump to conclusions.

The psychological term for jumping to conclusions is "inference-observation confusion", meaning people make an inference ...

Good intentions

Jumping to conclusions often comes from our desire to sound compassionate and invested in what someone is telling us.

We may comment by saying "wow", or "what a shame" when we really have no idea how the person wants us to feel. Instead of sounding supportive, we may come across as dismissive.

Types of inference-observation confusion
  • Mind reading. By watching the behaviour and nonverbal communication, we assume we know how someone feels, even when there are other potential explanations.
  • Fortune telling. We predict an outcome without having enough evidence. For example, we don't even try to enter a competition because we don't think we will win. These kinds of expectations can prevent us from taking action.
  • Labelling. We overgeneralise by labelling all the members of a group with the characteristics seen in a few.
Examples of distorted thinking
  • Seeing the world in terms of black and white extremes. 
  • A tendency to magnify our faults and minimize our achievements. 
  • Taking an isolat...
Challenging beliefs

The first step is to become aware of which of these negative belief patterns you are susceptible to. Keep a journal and record your negative thoughts.

Ask yourself the following questions each time you experience negative beliefs.

  • What is my evidence for thinking this way?
  • Is there any evidence that doesn't support this belief?
  • Could there be other ways of interpreting this event?