> ... Articles > Tips

3 Common Thinking Errors and How to Overcome Them

Through BYU-Pathway and with the help of our Savior, we can overcome these errors in our thinking

Jesus said, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” 1 In our lives we encounter temptation, sin, and confusion. These negative experiences can cause self-defeating thinking patterns that harm ourselves and those around us.
Jesus Christ
The Savior can help correct defeating thoughts.

However, the Savior promised that we would be able to “overcome” all error and suffering with His help. Student Caroline Asuron from Tanzania stated, “BYU-Pathway has helped me correct some of the thinking errors I used to practice. Now I feel that I am a better parent and spouse.” Through BYU-Pathway, and with the help of our Savior, we can overcome common thinking errors and find joy and peace.

Ever thought any of the following common thinking errors? Read on to find ways to overcome them.

1. “I don’t have what it takes to succeed.”

In life we will encounter many stumbling blocks . It may seem like things will never improve and that we don’t have the skills to succeed, especially in school. But believing that we can’t improve is called a fixed mindset — and having one narrows our perspective of ourselves and of the world. Instead of remaining as we are, we can use the opportunities and tools given through BYU-Pathway to improve our situation.

Maddy Worthington, a student from Utah, USA, shares her experience: “I had a really difficult time in high school. I did so poorly that they told me not even to think about college. Now I’m halfway through my bachelor’s degree in communication. I give credit to BYU-Pathway because that’s where I learned to tell myself ‘you are better than you think you are, you can do this.’””

If we do our best to be worthy, the Spirit will help us open our eyes and clear our minds to be able to see our divine potential. We will begin to see things more clearly instead of having our judgment blurred with self-doubt.

2. “I am right; you are wrong.”

When people do things differently than us, it can be natural to not understand why they do things the way they do. Truth: Good people generally do the things that feel right to them. Understanding this can help us to have more empathy and to be patient when others' perspectives don't align with our own.

two students talking to eachother
BYU-Pathway teaches healthy communication skills.

The skills learned through BYU-Pathway can help students overcome these natural tendencies. For example, students have the opportunity to communicate their experiences through discussion boards and weekly gatherings, which helps them gain the ability to listen and communicate effectively. These opportunities help them maintain an open mind and to learn to respond rather than react.

Enrico Occiano from the Philippines shared this about his gathering: “With each other’s support, criticism, and encouragement, everyone has become a better person at the end of the semester. The brave sharing of experiences in front of the class and in group discussions greatly enriched everyone’s experiences.”

3. “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

Sometimes when we are faced with a difficult task, we choose to procrastinate instead of just getting the job done. However, obsessing over a daunting task will only magnify it. Donald L. Hallstrom, of the Seventy, said, “Ironically, in time, procrastination produces a heavy burden laced with guilt and a hollow lack of satisfaction.” 2
Donald L. Hallstrom, “Do It Now,” Ensign and Liahona, Oct. 2007
The brief satisfaction of not working is quickly replaced with anxiety when we procrastinate.

BYU-Pathway offers a support system to help students achieve their goals. There are many people along the way to cheer you on.

How can I improve?

PathwayConnect students will remember a lesson from week 11 of PC 101: Life Skills. This lesson teaches a pattern to recognize and overcome thinking errors.

pool of bethesda
Christ will help you in your efforts to improve.

  1. Stop: recognize a thinking error.
  2. Think: recognize the source of the thinking error.
  3. Act: do something to stop the thinking error (ex. Deep breaths, prayer, hymn).
  4. Reflect: think about what went well and what you could improve next time.
The S.T.A.R. method helps us to stop thinking errors in progress and find a different outcome.
Elder Neil L. Andersen reminds us, “Overcoming the world is not one defining moment in a lifetime, but a lifetime of moments that define an eternity.” 3
Neil L. Andersen, “Overcoming the World,” Ensign and Liahona. Apr. 2017
As we consistently seek help from the Lord, He will guide us to overcome hurtful thinking habits just as He has overcome the world.