Example of False Implications

When you feel discouraged, you know what to do: The antivirus for your mind. When you're looking for why you think your setback has happened, you'll look for mistakes in your explanations. So far so good.

Sometimes the explanation you came up with will be true, but the implication is false (or at least could be better). This falls under the category of false implication (one of the 22 virus definitions). False implication is a thought-mistake.

For example, a woman was depressed because she'd lost her job two years ago, and hadn’t gotten another job since. She felt like a failure because she was still jobless after all this time.

Her explanation of her failure was: She didn’t do well in job interviews.

Her therapist wanted to test this, so he did a mock interview with her, and the therapist agreed — she was terrible at being interviewed.

However, her conclusion was that because she interviewed so badly, she would never get a job. The therapist, on the other hand, concluded that since they now knew exactly what the problem was, getting a job has become possible. All she had to do was learn to interview well.

So they practiced and the therapist coached her to improve the way she presented herself and she got better. They rehearsed, did mockups, recorded the practice sessions and really worked on it.

At her very next interview, she was offered the job. That was ten years ago. She has been continually employed since then in a very competitive field.

Now look at what happened. Her explanation for her failure was correct. She made no thought-mistakes there. She thought she was a lousy interview, and she was. But she made a mistake in the implication she drew from that. She thought the fact that she wasn't good at interviewing implied she couldn't get hired. This implication is wrong, or at least you could draw a more productive implication from the same fact.

So when you're going through the process, writing down your demoralizing thoughts and checking them for thought-mistakes, go one step further. If you find a demoralizing thought and you know it's true, explore further. What demoralizing implications have you concluded about it? Are they necessarily true? Don't be so sure. If a thought is pessimistic, it is suspect. Any negative thought you have is automatically suspect. Really look at it because the consequences are significant.

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