St. Augustine Woman's Journal - Educational Resource to the Women of St. Johns County Since 2009

By John R. -Jack- Jones Jr.
The LifeSource Group 

Warning: Forming A Conclusion Can Be Hazardous To Your Happiness!


August 1, 2017 | View PDF

"Your assumptions are the windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in"

- Isaac Asimov

Scientist have discovered that the more uncertainty we have in a situation, the more likely we are to form a conclusion. Our pre-frontal cortex is the part of the brain that determines complex cognitive processes which quickly assess and form evaluations. Our brains reward us with dopamine when we recognize patterns, and certainty is rewarded rather than accuracy. Jumping to a conclusion, also called "one shot learning" can actually limit our happiness, because once we shift into a conclusive mode, we often resist moving away from it. We can easily take a situation, fill in the gaps, label it and feel a sense of completion, while disregarding the potential for error. We are uncomfortable with the "not knowing" or the grey areas of life and feeling vulnerable, so we conclude anything from

• He's a narcissist

• I can't forgive that

• I'll always be in debt

• She will never change

• Life is unfair

• She must be mad at me because I didn't invite her to lunch

The real issue in this process is that we always try to find evidence to support our beliefs, which reinforces the negative conclusion cycle. Conclusions, or assumptions build the rigid structure of our belief system and outlook on life.

Suppose you get a message from your Doctor's office asking you to give them a call and your mind immediately assumes your recent lab work indicates a serious disease. You feel anxious and fearful and can't seem to get an answer. Instead of preparing for the worst case scenario, you can remind yourself that you do not have any data yet, and that you can hang out in this place of unknowing until you do. If that is too difficult, you can imagine other possibilities that are neutral. They may be calling about rescheduling an appointment, a question about insurance or even thanking you for a referral. This will at least settle the mind and emotions out of panic and fear mode.

If we remain curious and ask questions, we will shift out of the "one shot thinking" mode and create more opportunity to see possibility. This will preserve the energy that we expend when we react to a situation that doesn't even exist. Remaining open to possibility keeps us connected to the present moment, and it is only in the present moment that we can experience joy or peace.

If you are challenged by this and need the help of a caring and experienced counselor, we are here to help!


John R. "Jack" Jones, Jr, Licensed Mental Health Counselor & Certified Family Law Mediator

"Jack" has an MBA from Columbia University, a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Florida, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a Clinical Hypnotherapist and a Certified Family Law Mediator. A former CPA with over 20 years of international business experience, he now specializes in working with teenage and adult substance abuse, family and couple discord, parental alienation syndrome, trauma, anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. Practicing what he calls Cognitive Soul Therapy, dramatic results are sought using both science and spirituality. He is also familiar with the courtroom through his experiences as a Family Law Mediator, Guardian Ad Litem volunteer, licensed foster care parent, and adoptive father.

Kathleen Abbott, Licensed Mental Health Counselor & Clinical Director

"Kate" has a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from Florida State University and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. She has over 25 years of experience as a therapist and as a business leader. She coaches managers on best practices, is a regular speaker on creative and practical life strategies and believes "transformation begins with a renewing of the mind." Her clinical expertise is broad with specialties in eating disorders, PTSD, women, couples, teens and faith-based counseling. She is also highly experienced in providing counseling and crisis intervention training to various organizations in our community. A former licensed foster care parent and mother of two daughters, she is able to equip others in managing life's many changes and challenges.

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(904) 797-5680, Fax: (904) 797-5681

248 Southpark Circle East • Saint Augustine, FL 3208

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Kathleen Abbott, LMHC, John "Jack" Jones, LMHC, Liggett M. Cato, CECP, Kian F. Jacobs, LCSW, Barbara Jenkin, M.A., CAP, Allison Masters, LMHC, Melissa Muller, LMHC, Melody Ott, LCSW, Renee Pierce, CCHt, Thomas Swisshelm, MEd, EdS, Liz Villanueva, RMCHI, Dan Vosgerichian, PhD


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