Dr. Rich Patterson

Parents, Kids & Families—Keynote Speaker, Coach & Trainer

Rich Patterson, Ph.D.

Mental Model #2

You Cannot Hold Two-Juxtaposed Thoughts Simultaneously

Let’s say we have a teenager who skips school.  They have quite a truancy record and thus very poor grades.  All of this has caught up with him and now he is in the office with his parents trying to talk his way out of something that he behaved himself into.  OK, that is point number one.  You cannot talk yourself out of something you have behaved yourself into—but we all have tried at various times.

When asked about school, the student usually give a standard answer that says they don’t like school, the teachers here don’t care, nobody knows whether I come or go, something like that.  So that is their belief about school–no challenges, no discussion here because that is how they see school.

With that belief about school what would be their behaviors?  It is obvious that we’ll see truancy, poor grades, possibly legal troubles, in trouble at home and the like.  If we then ask, How does this benefit you long term?  The answer is again obvious, it doesn’t.  If the child says, “It Doesn’t”  then they have a faulty belief system.  This filter helps them to realize they need to change their belief system, but how?

Changing ones belief system is like changing a bad habit.  It starts with simply restating what you want to have happen.  Replacing that faulty belief even if for just one second.  You see, your mind cannot hold two juxtaposed (or opposing) thoughts simultaneously.  For the second that it takes you to state your new belief, either out loud (which is best) or to yourself, your mind holds that as true.

Using this filter for our thoughts helps all of us to check to see if we have a faulty belief system.  Take some time to work through this on your own and look for Mental Model #3 in the blog post.

Yours for a best life–Rich