Title: Men’s Criminal Thinking
Author: The Change Company
Why I chose to read this book:
To help me improve my thinking to achieve positive outcomes and consequences. Learn the skill that can help me examine my thinking. This skill can be used by my wife to improve her thinking skills too.
What I learned from this book:
Cost and Rewards of Criminal Behavior:
Rewards of criminal behavior is often attractive because the rewards are more immediate and the effort is often minimal and the risks seem too long-term to be of concern. Rewards for criminal behavior: money, respect, acceptance, protection, access to drugs, power and control, excitement and influence. It is easier to change your criminal behavior when you have a clear picture of what rewards you gain, compared to what you will risk. Cost of criminal behavior: addiction, legal expense, loss of freedom, missed opportunities, depression, damaged relationship, feeling afraid, loss of health and feeling used. Many people question how much choice they had when it came to be involved with criminal behavior. Think of the three C’s: Conditions, Cognition and Choices.
Conditions – Stands for conditioning your life based on you, your intelligence, temperament and other genetic factors. Conditions are based on things around you, like your family, friends and neighborhood. Condition do not control the choices you make.
Cognitions – Is how you think. Cognitions are how you explain to yourself the choices you have made.
Choices – You can choose how you conditions affect your behavior. You can make informed decisions because you have the ability to think and reason.
Examining My Thinking:
Influences on my thinking includes: family, work, school, community, experiences and media.
Automatic Thinking: Over time, mental patterns can develop into automatic thinking. That’s because people think incredibly fast. Some shortcuts in thinking can be helpful, they sometimes lead to poor choices. It’s important to step back, slow down and examine your thinking. This allows you to listen to the conversation and consider the best response to a situation.
Noticing My Thoughts: Effective way is simply by noticing your thoughts. Thoughts come from different places. For example ” I am going to call mom today” is a planning thought and ” those guys are stupid” is a judging thought. You might notice, remembering, observing, complaining, hoping and many other thinking.
Benefits of Slowing Down: When you slow your thinking, you have more control over how you respond to situations, and if you take time to consider your response, you give other people less power and control over how you feel and behave.
8 Criminal Thinking Errors:
These are patterns of unhelpful thinking that lead people to irresponsible behaviors. You can challenge and change these thinking errors.
First 4 Criminal Thinking Errors: Mollification, Cutoff, Entitlement and Power Orientation.
Mollification – Make excuses and blame others for their criminal behavior.
Cutoff – Ignoring responsibilities.
Entitlement – Feeling above the law. They believe rules don’t apply to them.
Power Orientation – Asserting power. People who use power orientation are focused on gaining control over others and the world around them.
4 other Criminal Thinking Errors: Sentimentality, Super optimism, Cognitive Indolence and Discontinuity.
Sentimentality – Self serving acts of kindness. Excuse the harm they have caused others by saying or doing things in an effort to feel better about themselves. Compartmentalizing, avoiding less favorable parts of yourself by focusing on the positive aspects.
Super optimism – Overconfidence. They have unrealistic beliefs about their abilities and set unrealistic goals for themselves.
Cognitive Indolence – Taking the easy way out.
Discontinuity – Getting sidetracked. Are often easily distracted and have difficult time being consistent.
Examining My Feelings:
Understanding feelings. Facts about feeling:
- How you think determines how you feel.
- Feelings may be uncomfortable.
- Feelings are not good or bad.
- Other people don’t make you feel a certain way.
- Ignoring feelings can lead to risky behavior.
- Feelings may be confusing, include multiple feeling together.
- Feelings and change go hand in hand.
Eight Big Feelings:
- Guilt – When your behavior has harmed others.
- Shame – It is an inner sense of feeling broken or not good enough.
- Boredom – Time pass slowly and activities are not enjoyable.
- Loneliness – Feel lonely when they experience a lack of connection with others.
- Grief – Intense sadness and emptiness when you lose something or someone.
- Anger – You feel angry when you are disappointed or don’t get your way.
- Resentment – Comes from unresolved anger. Hanging on to resentment can keep you from a happy and productive life.
Understanding the ABC’s:
A – Activating Event – The situation or the trigger.
B – Belief – Your self talk – what you think about the situation.
C – Consequences – What happens as a result of your thinking.
The key to understanding why you feel and act the way you do rest with your beliefs.
Rational Self-Analysis (RSA):
A – Camera Check – What Actually happened
– How would the Camera show this event.
B – Rational – Are my belief about what happened based on facts.
Challenge – Are They keeping me safe.
– Are they moving me towards my goals and keeping me out of conflicts with others?
– Are they leading me to feel the way I want to feel.
C – Desired – Did I behave in a helpful way.
Consequences – Did I get the outcomes I desired.
Step 1 – In an RSA is to check your perceptions compared with what actually happened. Helps make sure that you are seeing things as they are. This practice is called A Camera Check.
Step 2 – In an RSA is take a look at you thoughts and beliefs about the event. Asking and Challenging unhelpful belief – is called doing a Rational Challenge.
Step 3 – Is to consider the feelings, behaviors and outcomes you experience and decide whether you are satisfied with them.
Developing Mental Strength:
Being mentally strong means you are prepared to use positive skills to deal with difficult situations.
They are: Practice healthy relaxation, use the STOP method, maintain physical health and make good decisions.
Practice Healthy Relaxation: 1) Take slow deep breath, 2) Write a journal, 3) Take a walk, 4) Read a book.
Use the STOP Method:
S – Stop what you are doing or saying.
T – Take a deep breath.
O – Observe what you are feeling.
P – Pick a behavior – That support your values instead of automatically response.
Maintain Physical Health: Because the mind and body are connected, your physical health plays a role in developing mental strength. Healthy eating, staying active and getting enough sleep.
Make Good Decisions : Plan ahead, use common sense, ask others for advice, think through possible positive and negative consequences and look at result of past decisions.
How will this book contribute to my success upon release:
This book will help me improve my thinking yo get more positive outcomes. This skill will be shared with my wife, friends, family and others. The skill will be used in my communication with others immediately. It will enhance my relationship with others. This information can also be taught to others when I volunteer my teaching, tutoring and mentoring services.