Thought Mine #8: Fortune Telling

Each Thought Mine is followed by a definition and a list of examples. Please note that the following examples are representative statements. The same sentence may represent numerous Thought Mines. I list examples mainly to give you a starting point. Often individuals blend two or three “favorite” Thought Mines together into their own type of social misreading.

Thought Mine #8: Fortune Telling

Also called:



Negative predictions about your future. Predicting personal failures.

Negative self-talk example:

“I blew that interview. Why bother going to the one this afternoon.”

Couple example:

“You know you’re going to be late, so don’t have a lame excuse this time.”

Teen example:

“No matter what I do, I can’t get a good grade.”

Work/school example:

“I hate going to meetings, no one ever listens to my ideas.”


This is the realm of personal self-esteem destruction. I like to say, “You are, or will become, what you think about the most.” Prolific forecasters tend to emotionally spiral into depression.

Fortune telling gives one permission to fail. Simply put, if you know your future, and are sure that in this future you have failed, why bother? The problem with this idea is that the future is unwritten. And the future takes a circuitous path.

If you read the history of highly effective individuals, you will find that the path they took to being noteworthy was indirect. By pretending that you know the future, and that it is bleak, you force yourself to fail because you never try.

One sign of fortune telling is the use of the word “lucky” when describing someone else’s great deed. “My brother Larry is so lucky. He has a big house and three cars.” By using the word “lucky” this way you are leaving out the fact that Larry worked hard for twenty years to build his skills so he could land the job that lead to his fat pay check. This type of luck comes to hard working men and woman. In fact, the word deed means “intentional act.”

More: Understanding Thought Mines

Thought Mines are social misreadings that get in the way of communicating clearly. They are thought stumbling blocks that allow us to misread, and often misjudge, the intention of others. By misreading others intentions, we can often get sidetracked from getting our needs met.


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