Fort Bliss continues to take strides toward resilience: Go through Sept. avoiding common thinking traps
Marcie C. Wright,
Perception is everything. Bounce back without cracking by avoiding thinking traps this month.
Since January, Fort Bliss has undergone post and 1st Armored Division commander Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard’s initiative for a resilience awareness campaign. For six months, each month highlighted a core competency of resilience. In June, the focus shifted to spotlight some of the skills that make up each of the six competencies. September looks at thinking traps.
Thinking traps are overly rigid patterns in thinking that can cause a person to miss critical information about a situation or individual, according to Dr. Erin Towner, performance enhancement specialist with the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Performance and Resilience Enhancement Program, or CSF-PREP, here.
“These traps cause us to believe we know what has happened or what will happen without having all the details necessary for an accurate interpretation,” said Towner. “They are faulty shortcuts in thinking. What we gain in speed, we lose in accuracy.”
A part of the trap is a conclusion based on only mere facts, which is seldom accurate. One of the most common cases of this is jumping to conclusions. Towner gave the example of an unanswered phone call by a spouse or significant other.
“You may jump to [think] that this person saw that you were calling, but chose to ignore you,” said Towner. “There are hundreds of explanations for why the call was unanswered, but … you believe you are certain about why … with little or no evidence to support the conclusion.”
Towner expounded on the scenario and explained this type of thinking trap has potential to lead to impulsivity – driving the emotion of anger and the reaction of leaving a scathing voicemail.
An area of vulnerability to falling into thinking traps is when stress is prevalent in life. Be mindful that these traps have a cumulative effect. Over time they can become patterns that influence the way experiences are interpreted and remembered.
“The more rigid the pattern in thinking, the more likely we are to be limited in our accuracy and flexibility,” said Towner. “This can greatly reduce the effectiveness of our decision making.”
The way out of a thinking trap is to identify the critical information that is missing, so a more complete picture of the evidence is presented to make a solid decision.
To learn more about the campaign or how to make a more resilient you, contact the CSF-PREP team at 568-6684.
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