Be a Survivor, Not a Victim

Learn to avoid thinking traps

Hill (2001 pp. 65-66) and others have described in some detail these thinking traps. They include:

  1. All or nothing thinking. This involves viewing events as either black or white. For example, if a situation is less than perfect, you consider it a total failure.
  2. Over-generalization. This is a tendency to view a single temporary event as a general permanent state of affairs. We often use the words “never or always” when that simply is not an accurate description of what has occurred.
  3. Jumping to conclusions. We jump to making a judgment about a person or a situation when all the facts aren’t in.
  4. Exaggeration or magnification. This is the proverbial “making the mountain out of the molehill.”
  5. Minimization. We may discount or minimize either the positive or the negative elements of a situation. We may minimize our accomplishments or we may discount the potential risk that a situation may present.
  6. Emotional reasoning. We assume the way we feel is the way things really are. We do not look at the situation objectively or take in to account that others may see it differently.
  7. Confirmation bias. We may accept only data and information that support our current beliefs. We reject or find fault with any information that does not support our current beliefs.

(Hill, K.L. (2001) “Framework for Sports Psychologists: Enhancing Sport Performance.” Champagne, IL: Human Kinetics)

Would you like to learn more about yourself? The skills and the attitudes of resilience are part of a broader side of skills and attitudes that are known as emotional intelligence. If you would like to learn more about emotional intelligence, Goleman’s 1998 book, Working with Emotional Intelligence, is an excellent resource. (

Are you a parent or teacher interested in building resiliency in children? The APA offers an excellent Resilience Guide for Parents and Teachers that includes 10 Tips for building resilience in children and teens.