This multisyllable thinking error has a lot in common with all-or-nothing thinking. You interpret one thing as “a never-ending pattern of defeat.” (David Burns, MD)
Remember my story of dropping out for 4 bars while accompanying the chorus on piano? I made it into a never-ending pattern of defeat by never even trying again. By, in essence, “retiring” at age 13. (Though, happily, I came out of “retirement” eventually.)
One of your teammates blows his coverage assignment and you say, “He never stays with his guy.”
You have a day when you don’t like anything you put on canvas/paper/computer and you say, “I don’t have what it takes to paint/draw/write/design.”
A referee makes a lousy (in your humble opinion) call and you think, “I’m always getting the lousy calls. I never can get a break.”
When you find yourself over-generalizing ask yourself the questions we’ve been going over, such as: What’s the evidence? What are alternative explanations? What are the implications? Is this a useful thought?
Next time I’ll weigh in with my thoughts on some of these questions.