Negative Thoughts

Negative thinking can affect how we feel mentally and physically and then how we behave. If we could provide ourselves with evidence to support negative thoughts, it would save a lot of anxiety and stress. Negative thoughts without proof to yourself that these things exist only cause fear, anger, and resentment which only hurts the person thinking them.

We are going to invent a negative thoughts scenario in the form of three characters, Vicky, Noel, and Alex.
Vicky has failed to get a promotion at work. She is disappointed and is upset and fights back the tears; the decision has made her very angry. Her head starts to ache, her heart is beating faster than usual, and her hands are shaking. She leaves the building to go outside for a few minutes to try and regain control. She does not want to go back to the office and wants to go home.

Example one:
She thinks, “I bet Noel (her competitor), got that job because he has friendly ties with Alex (the interviewer), they had been seen chatting in the cafeteria a few days back.”

Has Vicky solid proof Noel and Alex were discussing the forthcoming interview or that they are on friendly terms other than professionally?

Example Two
Alternatively, she could be thinking:
“I must have made a bad impression for Noel to take the promotion; he does not have the length of service or skills I have. I have messed this up! I bet Alex thinks I am a stupid person and I wonder if he will say something to other senior executives in the company. I could lose my job!”
The thought of losing her job makes Vicky feel physically sick, she starts to sweat and is unable to focus on her tasks.    

Can you see how these negative thoughts are becoming more and more elaborate in Vicky’s mind? Why would she think Alex would go to senior executives and start running her down because she failed to secure the promotion.  Has she proof that Alex thinks she is stupid and made a mess of answering the interview questions? When we are in upsetting situations our imagination can sometimes go into overdrive and what is not a bad or dangerous situation, can be thought of as a massive problem with emergency lights flashing!

We will use the first example to carry on with the rest of our scenario.
Vicky ignores Noel even when he tries to approach her to say, she was a tough candidate to go up against and hoped there were no hard feelings. There is now an atmosphere between them, and this will eventually have a knock-on effect on the entire department.  If Vicky continues to hold a grudge against Noel, she would be seen as the instigator of the situation and could risk losing her job.  

Let’s look at what happened in the interview.
Alex was not overly impressed with Vicky’s interview.  She has been working for the company for almost 12 years and is very knowledgeable.  Her answer to his first question was good but not creative or hugely motivated towards the company’s future in a very competitive industry.  Her second answer was too much on the over-confident side.

Noel’s Interview

Noel, on the other hand, had answered several questions much better than Vicky. 

One question had been, “What would you do to improve the service we offer to become the best delivery service in the country?”  Noel had answered, “That would be a challenge but not impossible to achieve with the correct strategies, staff, and motivation in place.  I have some ideas for improving the service and I would like to discuss these with you if that’s okay?”
Of course, this would show confidence, forward-thinking and Noel has used his creative qualities, initiative, and skills with determination to achieve and move the company forward in the future.

Another question had been, “Where do you want to go within the company.” Noel had answered, “It is a great company, and I am impressed with what it has to offer.  I want to climb to the top of the ladder without a shadow of a doubt, and I am willing to give 100% and more to get there, but I also know this will not happen overnight.
Impressive answers, straightforward and honest, without any fear of letting the interviewer know he has goals to achieve within the company with his sights set on the future rather than right at this moment in time.

Vicky’s Interview

Vicky’s answer to the first question, “I’m sure if heads are put together a concrete plan will surface that will prove to outshine our competitors, offering a first-class service for the customer.”

To the second she replied, “I see myself in a more senior management position shortly, and I look, forward to that challenge.”
Concise, crisp answers but the last response was almost as if Vicky had decided she had secured the promotion and it was this that went against her in the end.

Vicky has been with the company for so long she had assumed the promotion would be offered to her.  However, Noel had only been with the company several years and was not overconfident; he was merely himself with honest answers of how he felt about the company and his future career with them. Vicky did not mention the company only the plan of action to make the company the best service in the country. Her answer did not show any motivation or creative thinking.

Vicky retained her position in the company and Noel went on to achieve more and more because of his motivation and determination to succeed. He consistently uses his people skills to help other employees showcase and develop their own talents and abilities.

If Vicky had Thought More Positively!
Now we will look at another scenario when Vicky first gets told she has not secured the promotion.
She is disappointed, and thinks, “Perhaps I should have put more groundwork in and been a bit more creative with my answers, they were a bit bland when I think back to them.  I will go and congratulate Noel he was obviously the best candidate on the day. There will be other promotions I can apply for in the future.  If I do not get a promotion within the next year, I will start looking for a more senior position somewhere else.”
There is no atmosphere, and everyone is happily working together.

Vicky has now set a goal for a year’s time; if no promotion is forthcoming, she will start looking for a new job. That is positive thinking.  She is not stressed or unhappy and will wait and see what the year ahead has in store.

Summary of Scenario

No situation exists that would cause Vicky to lose her job, or that Alex thought she was stupid and had messed up her answers.  She had just not been enthusiastic or motivated enough to clinch the promotion and her assumption the job was hers, swung the position to Noel. The reason Alex and Noel had been chatting in the cafeteria a few days before the interview, related to a new employee starting in the department the following week. There is no friendship outside of work, and their relationship is purely that of colleagues.

Not Totally a Negative Thought?

There may be a time when some negative thoughts may have some truth in them.  In that case, the situation needs handling with a calm attitude and not with an aggressive approach.  For instance, if someone has said something awful about you that is not true, your first feeling is that of anger.  Allow the anger to subside; stop, breathe,  and think how you are going to approach the problem, then deal with the issue.

Anger is a powerful emotion that needs controlling,  don’t allow it to make negative changes in your life that you will eventually regret.   


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