Friday, January 29, 2016

Cognitive Distortions

The general goal of this blog is to bridge the gap between the negative perception of Rochester and the often remarkably positive reality.  One of the most unique features of Rochester is the fact that long-time Rochesterians are among those who need the most convincing.  While the self-deprecating nature of Rochester can be quite endearing, it can also at times cross the line into relentless negativity.  Take for instance one local newspaper's feature on downtown's revival in which it refers to a "reputation of defecating on every potentially good thing that comes along." Or another paper's insistence that low local unemployment should not be celebrated because "we can't forget our past, and we can't help but look around and see that some things are rosier someplace else." After about five and a half years of living in the area, the only logical conclusion is that cognitive distortions have become a part of the local psyche.  As per wikipedia, cognitive distortions are exaggerated or irrational thought patterns that reinforce negative thoughts or emotions.  In Rochester's case, the following are the most common cognitive distortions along with a slightly more balanced outlook:

Distortion: If you leave city A because city B offers a better job, city A is horrible and dying.
Balance: Based on simple math, mid-sized cities are unlikely to offer dream jobs to all individuals who grow up there or attend college there.  To believe they can is like believing in the tooth age forty.

Distortion: If your positive data is not as good as someone else's positive data, your positive data is negative.
Balance: If you played in the NBA but were not as good as Michael Jordan, you're not a failure.

Distortion: Your negative data is unique to you, or at least more negative than anyone else's negative data.
Balance: Companies go bankrupt, move, and split everywhere.  I believe it's called business.

Distortion: Past performance always dictates future performance, especially if past performance was negative.
Balance: If my daughter makes a mistake at a piano recital, I shouldn't tell her that failure is her destiny.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, thank you for saying this and please keep it up. Our city needs as much positivity as we can get.