No, I don’t mean a family pussy cat, a bonkers puppy or a Three-Toed Sloth or even your friendly Wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plains. I mean performance-enhanced thinking or P.E.T’s. Now Performance Enhanced Thinking is the type of thinking that moves you forward in a balanced, rational and creative fashion. The opposite is surprisingly performance inhibited thinking (P.I.T’s) can create a cycle of thoughts that hold you back and can reinforce negative perceptions of yourself. So let me explain this process a little more.
P.I.T’s or P.E.T’s
Let’s have a quick look at the P.I.T’s to start with. This style of thinking breaks down to a number of ways the mind deceives us to believe this is how the world is for us or at least appears to us. For example,
- All or nothing thinking “I’m or it is all completely useless”
- Arbitrary Inference “they are all out to get me”
- Mind Reading “I just know he/she doesn’t like me”
- Fortune Telling “I just know I going to get the sack”
- Catastrophising “Everything is rubbish and I can’t stand it”
- Labelling “I am totally useless”
Now we most have been guilty of the P.I.T’s and believe me there are many more. So how do we change the P.I.T’s into P.E.T’s without buying a puppy? Well, we may want to try to balance our thinking toward something more rational and objective. Think about the situation you are in with more balance ie “I can’t possibly change jobs” to “with some thought on what I want to do and updating my CV, I will be able to start the job search.” Give yourself a few seconds to ask what is it about this situation that seems to create these automatic negative thinking patterns. Rather than the performance-enhancing sort. Perhaps its how you feel about yourself at the time, or just have lost a sense of perspective?
Balancing the P.I.T’s
So to encourage more performance-enhanced thinking we need to start to think about the evidence for how things are not working right now. What exactly is not working or not right currently? Ask yourself these few questions to balance the P.I.T’s –
- Where is the evidence to assume things are going badly?
- What aspects of the event/problem is going or have gone well?
- Who do you have to support you and to speak to about the problem?
- What went well in similar situations in the past – can you use that information to help me now?
- What’s is the very worse that can happen – if that did happen how important would that be in a few months time?
- Define the preferred outcome and what strategies can you put in place to make this happen?
- How would I help a friend out in a similar situation?
- Things do I need right now to move this issue/problem forward?
These self-help questions challenge and push back the P.I.T’s, whilst helping us see the event in a much more objective and balanced fashion. Thus allowing us to make more logical and rational decisions about the event or problems we face. Needless to say, balancing your thinking will help the emotional, physical and behavioural reactions to the event. Moreover, help with the sense of being unable to influence events within your control.
Clearly then we all know how we think about a situation is our own. Potentially no one else sees or understands the world quite as we do. As a result, could be we be just a slave to our thinking style? That is a bit harsh to suggest. Particularly if we are feeling tired or recent events have not gone as we had expected and we feel bad about ourselves or life in general. With a short period of reflection and allowing ourselves time to get things into perspective, we can then get into a more performance-enhancing mindset. Therefore moving forward in a positive and proactive action-orientated way.
So step away from the P.I.T’s and try to balance how you perceive the event or circumstance and see it through a different more constructive and rational lens – and most of all get more P.E.T’s!