Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Self-Defeating Thinking

Learning to be more productive as a scholar goes well beyond learning the ins and outs of publishing. Often, various psychosocial factors can help or inhibit our ability to thrive. Self-defeating thinking is a particularly pernicious phenomenon that demands some attention here.

In a later, more expansive post, I will explore in more detail some of the theory behind cognitive therapy and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, and how they can help you move toward greater productivity. For now, I want you to begin to explore your self-defeating thinking. Start to pay attention to the messages you tell yourself that get in your way. Perhaps a few of these sounds familiar.

"I could never_________"

"_______ is just too hard."

" I am not smart enough to_________"

"My writing is not good enough to______"

You may find many others as you begin to listen to the chatter that runs through your brain as you attempt to engage in writing tasks.

However, prior to being explored, self-defeating thinking may not really be "consciousness" or more accurately, rests just outside of your awareness. Over time, the more you pay attention to these messages, false attributions, and core beliefs, the easier they are to challenge.

You can explore and begin to alter them yourself, or with a trusted mentor, colleague, or if they are really problematic, professional coach or therapist. What is essential is that you do not let these habituated, self-downing patterns of thinking interfere with your writing and publishing. If they go unexplored they can interfere with your entire career.

You own it to yourself to deal with your self-defeating thinking now, not ten years from now. Think how much more productive your career can be if you do!

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