Being Selective Blog by Clare Fisher


Being Selective
Blog Clare Fisher Empower Counselling

(Q) It’s a good thing to be selective, right?

(A)Well that is up to you!


In our lives we have so much variety, so many choices, numerous options and lots of decisions to be made on a daily basis. It is therefore important for us all to have a good filtering process to enable us to select what is right for us.

We often base our selections on our; preferences, feelings, needs, aspirations, research, prior experience, feedback, media and more.

We are selective in our how we choose our; friends, jobs, leisure time, colour schemes, perfume and even what we want for our lunches.


(Q)Sound Good?

(A) Well in terms of selective abstraction no, not usually, as it can lead to cognitive distortions or unhelpful thinking patterns.

Selective abstraction is “the process of focusing on a detail taken out of context, ignoring other more salient features of the situation, and conceptualizing the whole experience on the basis of this element”


During my career as an educator I often undertake speeches and in my experience the majority of my presentations are received very well by the audiences and conference organisers. To score myself out of ten with ten being Awesome and one being Very Poor, on average I would score my speech making as a strong seven. There is always room for improvement, but a seven is not a bad level for my developing presentation skills. However, no matter if I receive thirty very positive feedback responses from my audience, without fail I focus my attention on the one slightly negative return. I select to discard the positives, I ignore them all, I discount their importance, their sheer volume and turn my whole attention to ruminating on that pesky singular negative. I select to take the negative feedback out of context, designate it an out of portion significance, allow it to consume me and taint my whole experience. This selective unhelpful thinking habit undermines my self-confidence, reduces my enjoyment of speech making and increases my levels of anxiety.


(Q) It’s a good thing to be selective, right?

(A) YES, if you choose to be positively selective with your focus.



Reference Beck, A. T. (1963). Thinking and depression: I. Idiosyncratic content and cognitive distortions. Archives of General Psychiatry, 9(4), 324-333.

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