Dr. Rich Patterson

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


Rich Patterson, Ph.D.

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 abysmal 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 acted yourself into—but we all have tried various times.

When asked about school, the student usually gives 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 it.

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


Changing one’s belief system is like changing a bad habit.  It starts with simply restating what you want to have happened—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 us 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.

Click here to read about Mental Model #1, Series: Mental Model #1 – Dr. Rich Patterson (pattersonphd.com)

The Positive Psychology website has a post that relates to this nicely, click here, Identifying and Challenging Core Beliefs: 12 Helpful Worksheets (positivepsychology.com)


Yours for the best life–Rich