inferior thinking patterns


I will always defeat John; he must never get a higher score than me.

John cheated on me, I am terrible at relationships. I attract the not-so-good men.

I wasn’t invited to the end of year party, I just knew nobody likes me.

I flopped on the test again, I am such a failure.

It’s not working out as I planned, everything is ruined.

Do they sound familiar to you woman?

Ever been in a similar situation?

If yes, then you’ve found the right blog post to help through the right methods to overcome or outgrow those negative thinking patterns.

What are patterns?

Patterns are the usual systematic manner of doing something.

When you do something once, it is not a pattern, whereas when you perform that behavior or thought repeated in the same manner it becomes a pattern.

Let’s say; Kate eats pancakes dipped in pineapple syrup at 9:00 am every Tuesdays and Thursdays in MacDonalds; Kate has an eating pattern.

Sunita gyms for 1 hour every weekend at the gym house, and runs between 8:00 am- 9:00 am every weekday; Sunita has an exercising pattern.

However for this blog post, we will focus on your “thinking patterns”; the reoccurring thoughts you have when pressed under different conditions-whether positive or negative conditions.

What are thinking patterns? How can you identify if you have a thinking pattern? How can identify if a thinking pattern is negative to your growth?

Let’s dive in already.

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking

Albert Einstein

Thinking patterns are recurrent, impulsive, long-term systematic paths of thinking. Every time an unfavourable situation occurs, what is your first and pressing thought towards that situation?

What are your continuous thoughts every time you are under stress or duress? What thoughts do you have every time things go south, taking an unexpected unpleasant turn? How do those thoughts affect how you feel whether positively or negatively?

The first negative thinking pattern to watch out for is  

inferior thinking pattern

1. Unhealthy competition.

The sky is large enough for all birds to fly.

Competition by itself is an enforcer of our motivation to do better or perform better at a particular task. However, competition becomes unhealthy when it alters our goal from “I want to win/ I want to excel” to “I must always do better than him”.

The thing with unhealthy competition is this, it takes your eyes off your goal and focuses it on another person. Instead of devising ways to improve your performance because of your goal, you become obsessed with another person’s performance.

You aren’t focusing on your goal anymore, you now watch another person play.

Unhealthy competition is an inferior thinking pattern that makes you clogged up with unpleasant emotions, like fear and restlessness. You can’t seem to relax because you worry that the particular person will perform better than you did. Conversely, unhealthy competition deviates your focus and reduces your stability.

Instead of appreciating your improved effort, you tend to berate it as long as it falls beneath that of your competitor.

Unhealthy competition can place you on a treadmill going nowhere.

Have you ever been in a situation where you interpret someone as a threat and then become obsessed with ensuring they never perform better than you?

Watch out, you are possibly roped into an unhealthy completion.

How to challenge it.

Instead of perceiving other capable people as threats and getting obsessed over their performance, focus on learning from them and emulating their strategies or patterns.

Take advantage of the adrenaline boost you experienced to better your performance.

Imagine you are running a cross country alone, you will run without zeal compared to when running against other experienced runners. Use your competition to motivate you and not overwhelm you.

You must learn to master a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.

Marianne Williamson

2. Overgeneralization.

I wasn’t invited to the end of year party; I just knew nobody liked me.

Overgeneralization as a negative thinking pattern is like using a single incident as a wide brush to paint over a wall.

You overgeneralize when you use one conclusion to draw inferences about unconfirmed situations. Overgeneralization limits your ability to judge peculiar situations singly without an affected interpretation.

You think everyone dislikes you because you weren’t invited to the party.

You conclude you are such a terrible stock trader because you lost once, and now you quit.

How to challenge it.

Avoid using one conclusion to apply across a board of incidents.

Try reframing the situation: Look for shades of gray, alternative explanations, objective evidence, and positive interpretations to expand your thinking.

Instead of concluding that everyone dislikes you, consider other possible reasons why you were not invited to the party.

3. Self-defeating beliefs.

John cheated on me; I am terrible at relationships. I attract the not-so-good men.

According to Verywell mind; your values, perceptions, and attitudes make up your belief system.

Self-defeating thoughts are any negative views you hold about yourself and the world around you. Also known as mistaken or faulty beliefs, these views impact your self-esteem as a woman, the feelings you carry about your personal abilities, and your relationships with others.

Self-defeating beliefs are categorized as either the negative views you have about yourself or the beliefs you hold about your relationships with others.

When you grade your capability based on your performance, you expose yourself to self-defeating beliefs. You think you are incapable because you failed or performed poorly.

When you belief that your self-worth is solely determined by your accomplishments, you will only feel fulfilled when you are excelling at your career, achieving your goals, or reaching a desired level of status.

How to challenge it.

Changing your self-defeating belief system begins by recognizing its role in your life.

Make a list of mistaken beliefs and start noticing when they appear in your life.

Once you have begun to identify your typical faulty beliefs, you will start to notice what situations seem to trigger you the most. This knowledge allows you to change your belief system.

For Instance: Do you fail at anything because you failed at mathematics? Do your loved ones still care about you if don’t get promoted at work? Does your boss still approve of you even when you swashed the presentation?

By continually confronting your mistaken beliefs, you can overcome them and begin to develop new ones that are potentially more realistic and less anxiety-provoking.

inferior thinking pattern

4. Magnification or minimization.

Magnification involves overly enlarging a situation beyond its true dimension, while minimization involves lessening a situation far beyond its true dimension.

“I hear a thousand kind words about me

And it makes no difference

Yet I hear one insult

And all confidence shatters.

-focusing on the negative”

–Rupi Kaur in her book of poems The Sun and Her Flowers.

In this short poem, Kaur helps her readers identify the minimization and magnification of negative thinking patterns. That is, minimizing the good and magnifying the bad.

When you take the good and make light of it, you have minimized it.

When you take the not-so-good and exaggerate it, you have magnified.

Say Joan hears so many random things about her but decides to focus on only one she finds offensive, enlarges it and reads deep meaning into it. Joan has magnified an incident.

Likewise, if she tends to reduce her accomplishments or wins to nothing every time, she is said to have minimized.

Magnification and minimization are highly negative thinking patterns because they work walk hand-in-hand, with one enforcing the other.

For instance:

Healthy thinking pattern.

I think that I’ll try out investing in stocks. I lost a fortune the last time, but my investment coach told me to try again only after I take the required courses”.


I don’t think that I’ll try out investing in stocks ever again. My investment coach told me to try again after taking new courses, but if I lost a fortune even after all my previous learning, why would I waste my time again? It’s not worth it.

Healthy thinking pattern.

I’ve been doing well in school this year! The pandemic was making me struggle with my mental health, but I pushed through.


I did well in school this year because of the lockdown this year. I bet I would have flopped otherwise.

How to challenge it:

Start a gratitude journal.

Countless studies have shown that just writing down a few things each day that an individual is grateful for can improve mental and physical health. Gratitude helps us magnify the positives of each day while minimizing the negatives.

Replaying failures.

When you constantly replay situations of failures, embarrassments, and disappointments you expose yourself to the negative impact of these thinking patterns.

According to Inc, Dwelling on your problems, magnifying your misfortune, and hosting your own pity party only increases your distress.

Perhaps you re-play an embarrassing moment where you tripped in your head. Each time you envision the situation, you beat yourself up for how you handled it.

Replaying the same scene repeatedly increases your fear that you did the wrong thing and are now susceptible to always doing the wrong things.

Why you should avoid replaying failures.

Dwelling on the negative leads to mental health problems. Research shows the more you think about your mistakes, the more likely you are to experience depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety.  Replaying your failures becomes a hard cycle for you to break out from. It also makes you withdraw from social interactions and activities.

How to challenge this negative thinking pattern.

If you tend to replay failures, focus on changing your thought pattern.

Recognize when it happens.

Come up with a solution.

Distract yourself.

Practice mindfulness (Live in the present)

Overcoming this negative thinking pattern will take time and dedication, but it offers you a better mindset that makes you feel better and become more productive.

5. Being hard on yourself.

When an incident occurs which falls below our expectations, we begin to analyse the possible oversights that led to that incidence. This action puts us on a threshing floor exposing us to flashbacks, harsh words, and regrets from ourselves. Making us feel terrible and guilty about something we think we have control over, which in most cases we don’t.

Read our blog post on why being hard on yourself can destroy you.

inferior thinking patterns

Avoiding responsibility/ Excessive responsibility.

You can only do better when you are brave enough to accept responsibility for your actions.

When you tend to avoid responsibilities because of fearful feelings, you extend the negative impacts to affect your growth and development. Avoiding responsibilities makes your life convenient but at the same time deprives you of the opportunity to grow.

Excessive responsibility involves taking huge blame or glory for a particular situation when in a real sense it’s beyond your responsibility to carry. When things go south, you tend to shoulder excess of the responsibility weakening your stance and putting so much pressure on yourself.

Extremes in taking or giving responsibility can produce conflict because of the reaction they produce in others. When one person fails to take responsibility, others can resent being left with the blame or the work.

When someone takes on too much responsibility (and perhaps too much of the credit), others can feel resentful or alienated; and no one likes being held responsible for something he or she didn’t do.

How to challenge it:

Create a balance.

Know how much responsibility you should carry and not go beyond. Taking responsibility gives you the choice and allows you to choose how to respond to life’s challenges.

Identify emotions that enhance you to avoid responsibility: such as fear, laziness and apathy. Find ways to overcome these emotions to increase your chances of taking responsibility for your actions.

Know that taking responsibility for your actions allows you to grow and improve.

Don’t take on more than the responsibility you should.

Until next time. 

A change from these negative thinking patterns will require your time and dedication but on the bright side it offers you stability and improved productivity.

Take out time to identify which of these negative thinking patterns is peculiar to you, and put in the right effort to overcome them. Do you want to be successful?

Then you must get rid of any negative thinking pattern that limits your success.

1 want you to succeed, woman.


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