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Test Your Thinking

3Rs Switch Thinking


The Skill of Disputing Your Thinking

  • Garden will teach you an easy and effective system of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT & REBT).

“To find yourself, think for yourself.” —Socrates

“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” ―Flannery O’Connor

“Whatsoever action you intend to perform by body, speech, or mind, first think, ‘Will this action be harmful to myself or to others or to both. Will this action produce suffering?’ If it is harmful, avoid doing it.” —Gautama Buddha


Note on Disputing

This page is designed to teach a simplified form of the process for testing your thinking.

“The absolutist musts and overgeneralizations that people add to their desires to perform well and to be approved by others, are (a) unrealistic (b) exaggerated conclusions, and (c) definitional.” —Albert Ellis


Disputing Made Easy: First Question Then Answer

It is important in cognitive psychotherapies such as Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), Cognitive Therapy (CT), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to learn to examine your thinking.

“Clients are shown that they had better fight, in practice as well as in theory, against their acquired and invented irrational ideas and the dysfunctional behavior patterns that accompany these ideas.” —Albert Ellis

This process of disputing your thoughts can be called many things.

It is often called one of these four things:

  • questioning
  • challenging
  • disputing
  • testing

3 Kinds of Disputes, Challenges, Questions, or Tests

For the sake of simplicity, there are three basic kinds of disputes:

  1. Practical
  2. Factual
  3. Logical

(Note: Many more kinds exist and are explored in Planet Earth: Insane Asylum for the Universe, 2nd Ed.)


 3 Simple Questions to Ask

You can easily use the three kinds with these easy questions:

  1. Does it help?
  2. Is it true?
  3. Does it make sense?

3 Simple Answers to Focus On

You complete the testing process by answering the three questions:

  1. No, it hurts.
  2. No, it is a lie.
  3. No, it is foolish.

Example of 3 Questions

  1. Does it help me to think they are rotten?
  2. Is it true that they are rotten?
  3. Does it make sense that they are rotten?

Example of 3 Answers

  1. No, it hurts by allowing me to behave uncaringly and poorly, thus increasing conflict.
  2. No, only some of their behavior is rotten, not their being.
  3. No, just because they did bad that cannot make them bad.

Simply Dispute

  • Now, when you want to test your thinking, simply ask and answer the three questions.
  • Persistently practice this, and you will find it helps your thinking, feeling, and behaving. Happy working!

Reminder for Disputing Made Easy:

First Question Then Answer


You Can Learn to Dispute in 3 Areas

  1. What it is now.
  2. What it will become.
  3. What it will cause.

Understanding Irrational Beliefs & Attitudes: 3 Basic Causes

The irrational has 3 primary causes:

  1. Biological Causes
  2. Conditioning Causes
  3. Habit Causes

Thus, you seek the irrational rather than the rational because you are naturally prone to do so, because you are trained to do so, and because you have the habit of doing so.


Dispute Irrational Beliefs, Not Try to Fix Them

  • At first blush, it appears that you are disputing the irrational.
  • However, the irrational will never become the rational.

Rather, you are awakening, empowering, and encouraging the rational to take charge instead of the irrational when you dispute.

You are giving your self reasons to switch, to shift from the irrational way to a rational way when you dispute.

  • There is no conversion of the irrational to the rational.
  • If you wait for the irrational to agree, you will wait forever.

Disputing the psychological motivations and results of your thinking will improve your reasoning ability and skillful thinking in all areas of your life more than learning critical-thinking skills can or will. However, learning and practicing critical-thinking skills is a valuable life skill that schools are remiss for not requiring or teaching.

“Do not believe in something solely because someone has told you so, or tradition has it, or because many others do. Test for yourself, experience for yourself.” —Kalama Sutta


From 3D: Daily Dose of Discernment: 2019 #Test #Source: 2019-02-11

1. Test the source of beliefs and ideas by finding out if their source is positive, neutral, or negative because their source is their nature.

2. Test the practice or process of beliefs and ideas by finding out if their functioning is positive, neutral, or negative because their functioning is what they will give you.

3. Test the goals or results of beliefs and ideas by finding out if their goals are positive, neutral, or negative because their results expose their goals and nature.

4. If it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, and eats like a duck, then it is probably a duck even if it claims to be an eagle.

5. Yes, sometimes we need the negative to get rid of the negative such as when we cut out a cancerous tumor, but more often we need positive goals such as recovery, redemption, and rehabilitation to treat negative conditions.

The above can be understood as three (3) general ways to dispute thinking: (1) challenge its source; (2) challenge its behavior or functioning; (3) challenge its results.


Uproot Your Self-Defeating Thinking

“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” —Milton Friedman

unwanted thoughts leave


Related Pages

  1. Emotionalize New Behaviors & Beliefs
  2. Quotations by Topic: Test, Challenge, & Question
  3. Scripture by Topic: Judge Thoughts, Not People
  4. Scripture by Topic: Test & Verify

Quotations from Various Sources

Organized Alphabetically

“A fool is only a fool because he won’t see he is a fool.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” —James Joyce

“Ask a question and you’re a fool for three minutes; do not ask a question and you’re a fool for the rest of your life.” —Chinese proverb

“Ask the right questions if you’re going to find the right answers.” —Vanessa Redgrave

“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” —Hebrews 12:8

“By honestly acknowledging your past errors, but never damning yourself for them, you can learn to use your past for your own future benefit.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 194

“Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.” —Proverbs 15:5

“Doubtful expressions, that have scarce any signification, go for clear reasons to those who, being prepossessed, take not the pains to examine even what they themselves say.” —John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Ch1 .vii

“Failure doesn’t have anything to do with your intrinsic value as a person.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 206

“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” —Hebrews 12:6

“I am all in favor of the skeptical mind. Do not believe anything unless you have experienced it. Do not believe anything—go on questioning, however long it takes.” —Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho)

“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.” —Richard Feynman

“If we eliminated all errors, we would also eliminate much discovery, art, insight, learning, and creativity that results from facing errors.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” —Hebrews 12:7

“In school, we’re rewarded for having the answer, not for asking a good question.” —Richard Saul Wurman

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken that the wisest might err.” —Mahatma Gandhi

“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” —Voltaire

“Large skepticism leads to large understanding. Small skepticism leads to small understanding. No skepticism leads to no understanding.” —Xi Zhi

“My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:” —Proverbs 3:11

“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” —Milton Friedman

“REBT is also a double-systems therapy in that it helps people un-upset themselves while they are still in a bad system, such as a bad family, or a bad work system, and then it helps them go back to point A, the activating events or the adversity in their lives and work out practical and problem-solving solutions to these realistic problems.” —Albert Ellis

“REBT will lead to profound social concern because proving your trusted thoughts to be beneficial, constructive, and healthy will result in your personal and social attitudes also being constructive.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” —Norman Vincent Peale

“Whatsoever action you intend to perform by body, speech, or mind, first think, ‘Will this action be harmful to myself or to others or to both. Will this action produce suffering?’ If it is harmful, avoid doing it.” —Gautama Buddha

“When receiving correction, the wise seeks to learn, and the fool seeks to justify with excuses.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

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