Jose Palomino

5 Toxic Thought Patterns to Avoid

December 20, 2016

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Toxic thought patterns can be a hindrance to our happiness both at home and in our workplace. If our minds stick to dangerous areas, it can spread to and affect the health of our business, our personal relationships, and our own overall well-being.

The most successful business people strive to overcome these toxic thought patterns. By kicking them to the curb, you free up your mind, and give you and your company the space to grow.

1.) Overconfidence

A recent article in Inc magazine calls out overconfidence as dangerous for the health of your company. “Don’t overestimate your strengths,” they remind us. “It’s important to reflect on what you, and your business, need to improve.”

Overconfidence can diminish your opportunities for improvement, both of yourself and of your business. You have to see your flaws in order to address them and overcome them — they are important. Like undiagnosed illnesses, they’re a threat to the health of your company.

(Of course, you don’t want to dwell on your “gaps”  to the point where you swing to the other side and become depressed about your business challenges.)

2.) All Talk No Action

Talking about what you want to achieve within your company is an important step to goal attainment. But you can’t be all talk and no action. It’s not enough just to talk and think about what you want to happen — you have to go out and make it happen.

Yes — effective communication with your team is vital. But it isn’t the be-all / end-all of operating a successful business. Communication is just an outline for actual achievement.

3.) Ignoring Evidence

Many of us have bad habits of ignoring data that doesn’t support our beliefs. According to Inc. magazine, if you’re doing this, “You’re running the risk of overlooking a competitive threat until it’s too late.” You have to embrace the fact of conflicting data, because it gives you a fuller picture.

It’s deadly important to know your industry. And you can’t really do that if you’re only looking at one side, or one area, of your industry. Staying competitive means staying aware of threats (as well as opportunities), so that you can stay one step ahead of them.

4.) Irrational Thinking

Irrational thinking is a danger both in our personal and our professional lives. We can think ourselves into a depression, or into a corner — when really the solution to our problem can be achieved through calming down, stepping back, and thinking logically.

Health Guidance cites some common examples. Misinterpreting simple things people say to you, thinking that you are useless or a failure, and thinking that the whole world is out to get you. It’s not healthy for us to think like this — instead, we need to work on seeing the world as it is, not as we fear it is.

5.) Perfectionism

Harvard Business Review has a great article about toxic thought patterns. They believe that the difference between feeling energized about your work and feeling compelled to work, is the difference between “helpful harmonious passion” and “harmful obsessive passion.”

When you’re working from a motivation of harmful obsessive passion, you have an uncontrollable compulsion to work. This might seem like a good thing for work ethic, but it can be really damaging if work is the ruling force in your life. Instead, it’s better to cultivate a healthy excitement for the work you do — helpful harmonious passion.

In order to think rationally and keep a healthy mind, you have to accept that you will not be perfect. Achievement at work isn’t everything — and neither is perfection. You cannot link success at work to success in life, because that connection will damage your ability to thrive in both places.

Bottom line:


 
Toxic thought patterns can be extremely damaging to the health and growth of your company. If you ignore your flaws, or ignore evidence, you’re allowing undiagnosed problems to spread. You need to make sure your own mind is healthy, because your thought patterns will affect how your business operates.

This isn’t a brand new idea, either as the writer of Proverbs in the Old Testament put it:

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” So think better thoughts!

  • Do you always turn communication into effective achievement?
  • Have you addressed the flaws in your business model? Do you even see them?
  • Do you strive for perfection, or do you accept that it’s not necessary for success?

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