‘Stinking Thinking’


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“Stinking Thinking” is a mindset that has you believe you will fail, that bad things will happen ​to you, or that you are not a very good person (Cambridge English Dictionary).

This phrase was initially coined by Zig Ziglar, an American author, salesman and motivational speaker, and it is commonly used by mental-health professionals introducing individuals to the principle of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), namely that a person’s underlying negative thinking patterns are linked to his or her emotional upset.

However, this is actually not a new concept and dates back through the ages of time as indicated in the following list of notable quotes.

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he;” “As man Thinketh so is he.” Proverbs 23:7 (King James Version) – 900 BC

“Men are not worried by things, but by their ideas about things. When we meet difficulties, become anxious, or troubled, let us not blame others, but rather ourselves, that is: our idea about things.” (Epictetus, 135 AD, Greek speaking Stoic philosopher)

“There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” (Alfred W. Adler, Feb. 7, 1870-May 28, 1937, Austrian medical doctor, psychotherapist, and founder of the school of individual psychology)

“When the creative power of thought is fully understood, its effect will be seen to be marvelous.” (Charles Francis Haanel, May 22, 1886-Nov. 27, 1949, noted American New Thought author, philosopher and a businessman)

“You are where you are, you are what you are, by what goes into your mind. Change where you are, change what you are, by changing what goes into your mind.” (Hilary Hinton “Zig” Ziglar, Nov. 6, 1926-Nov. 28, 2012, American author, salesman, and motivational speaker)

Individuals through independent study and practice e.g., CBT self-help books or with the aid of counselling can learn to apply this concept and related techniques to consistently manage day-to-day stressors more effectively.

Please stay tuned for next month’s topic, “Cognitive Flexing,” to get some tips on how to challenge “Stinking Thinking.”




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