A garden, when tilled and nurtured allows the garden to grow and prosper. But without this attention to the lawn, shrubs and borders, weeds soon appear alongside withering shrubs and compacted soil. A well-functioning garden needs our care and attention. If we consider our mind as a garden we can see how easily weeds (unhelpful thoughts and feelings) grow. If left untended, these unhelpful thoughts and feelings disable our actions. An unreasonable fear about driving on a motorway, for example, might persuade us to avoid travelling on a motorway altogether - despite the inconvenience to ourselves and others. In sport, we might believe that we must never fail, ever. But this belief, when it grows stronger roots, becomes even harder to extract. We try to catch these beliefs from growing.
Here are three ways in which crooked thinking affects the beliefs we hold.
1. Emotional Reasoning - this happens when we use our feelings as facts. "I'm not feeling good about this match - I know something is going to go wrong"
2. Personalising - this happens when we take things personally. "I'm not being served at this table - the waitress doesn't like me". "I'm being taken off in every game - the manager thinks I'm no good"
3. Assuming responsibility (even when it is not yours). "The team would have played better if I had not criticised our striker last week". "My poor training sessions made them lose at the weekend"
Watch out for these types of crooked thinking. Ask yourself how others might see the same situation. Ask yourself - what is the evidence to confirm or dismiss my view. When we attend to the garden of our mind, we remove the weeds one by one. Soon the garden looks and feels better which encourages us to keep working on improving how our garden grows.