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3. If I don't succeed I'll be a failure. It's possible to fail but it doesn't
make one a failure. Failing is part of the human experience. We all fail at
some point or another but we needn't then define ourselves as failures.
4. Unless I work very hard, everything at work will fall apart.
This irrational idea is what therapists call catastrophizing, or the idea
that unless we can control everything in life by working hard and
being eternally vigilant, everything will fall apart. People who try to
control everything are often prone to anxiety problems or have what
we've come to call OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). For
many people with OCD, the work required to keep anything bad
from happening often leads to more time spent in repetitive behavior
than in actual work.
5. If I can't do it the right way, there's no point in doing it at all.
This is the perfectionist's motto but, in reality, we do many things each
day that we don't do well. The fact is that, whatever we do, there's always
someone who does it as well or better than most of us. Demanding per-
fection in everything we do is a recipe for unhappiness.
6. It's essential that everyone like me. The reality is that most people
might like us but, for reasons we can't explain, some people won't.
Trying to be liked is one of those no-win approaches to life that gets
many people into difficulty. While we hope we can get along with
everyone and have good working relationships, we can't expect every-
one to like us.
7. Work is the only way I have of dealing with the demons that
haunt my life. Better to get some good help to rid yourself of
demons from the past than to work yourself to death trying to get
rid of them. Many workaholics use work to deal with feelings of
insecurity and lack of self-esteem, but the workplace is only part of
your life. When you get home at night, the demons are still there.
Work has done nothing to drive them away.
8. If I don't continue working very hard, I'll become bored,
depressed, and anxious. In fact you might, but the time to start
dealing with fears about the future is now. What's irrational about this
idea is that nothing is inevitable. If you feel that way then surely you'll
experience all of the unhappiness you've been predicting for yourself.
9. It's not
you know. Of course, this is
sometimes true but, for most of us, it isn't. Even if we have special
relationships with people who can make things happen for us, we
don't always want to ask favors for fear of alienating them. Giving
you know, it's
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