In this article:
- Introduction to cognitive distortions
- What is all or nothing thinking?
- How this looks when job searching or in employment
- Exercise – Making your thought more realistic
- How we can help
Introduction to cognitive distortions
Cognitive distortions are untrue and unhelpful thought patterns. They can have a negative effect on wellbeing, motivation and confidence and when related to employment they can decrease job satisfaction and make it less likely you will achieve your goals.
What is all or nothing thinking?
All or nothing thinking involves seeing things in extremes, forgetting there are many options in between, for example seeing things as either good or bad, right or wrong or a success or failure. The problem with this type of thinking is it causes us to believe we’re either perfect or a failure, which is untrue and can be damaging to our self-confidence.
How this looks when job searching or in employment
Anna just finished a job interview, she answered all questions to a high standard except one, she paused for a few seconds too long and couldn’t think of a great example. When she leaves the interview, she thinks “That went awfully, I can’t believe how badly I did!” even though she had brilliant examples for 90% of the questions.
Eisah had his first progress review at his new job as a sales assistant. His manager said he was doing great and it was impressive how much he’d already learnt about the company, however he was slightly below his target of handing out loyalty cards this month. After the review Eisah felt like a failure, thinking “I knew I couldn’t do this job, I always get everything wrong” even though his manager said what a great job he was doing.
Exercise – Making your thought more realistic
Can you think of a time you used all or nothing thinking? It might help to look for words that represent extreme thoughts such as, always, never, good, bad, right, wrong, success and failure.
In general we are much more likely to notice and remember negative things in our lives and forget to also look for the positives. Can you think of 3 positives around the situation you found yourself using all or nothing thinking?
Using the example above of Eisah, three positives he might recognise are:
- My manager said I was doing great and was impressed about my knowledge of the company
- Even though I was below my target of handing out loyalty cards, I was 90% there
- I now have a goal to work towards and will feel proud when I achieve it
How we can help
We offer a wide range of get back into work courses, helping those looking to gain employment as well as those wanting to develop their skills in employment. You can view our full range of courses here. If you found this article useful, you might be interested in the following: