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GO Month: Mental Clutter - O

Let's celebrate Get Organized (GO) Month by ridding ourselves of mental clutter from A to Z!

To celebrate Get Organized (GO) Month I'm doing a series of posts on the mental clutter that can be just as pervasive as physical clutter. For each letter, I'll talk about a mental stumbling block that often impacts our well-being.

Let's focus on O ... Overgeneralization

What does it mean to overgeneralize?

Basically what you do is you apply one experience to all experiences.

You make a broad assumption about something from very limited experience.

You think you can predict the outcome of something based on one instance of it.

Ie; That professional organizer made me throw my stuff away so all professional organizers are mean and pushy or My landlord threatened eviction because of my clutter so I'll never be able to rent again.

Overgeneralization is another form of faulty thinking. It's detrimental in that it's inaccurate and limiting. It can also be demoralizing and defeating. If you take the example of professional organizers being mean/pushy and take it a step farther, you'll conclude that no professional can help you with your clutter and stay stuck and not get the help you need.

Ways to combat this thinking include:

  • Examine the pros and cons of your prediction

  • Look to see if there's any evidence of your generalization

  • Pretend you're talking to a friend and see if you would talk your friend out of this prediction

  • Find examples of your generalization being proved false

  • Try to take the words always, never, everything, nothing out of your internal dialogue and see where your prediction stands

  • Work on reframing with positivity Ie; I will be open to working with a new landlord at my next apartment

"Overgeneralization sometimes gets you worse results. You cannot judge anyone in a short span of time. Words and gestures do define character sometimes, but it's just like an iceberg and you are focusing only at its tip."

Saurabh Tripathi

Here's to freeing ourselves from overgeneralizing in our thinking!

Please share with someone who needs a clearer mindset.

featured image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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