Stinkin Thinkin!

skunkA recent article by David Burns in Psych Central identified the top ten types of “Stinkin Thinkin;” negative ways of thinking about ourselves that diminish the quality and potential of our lives. I was astounded to discover that I have occasionally entertained some of these destructive thoughts.

It was refreshing and helpful to see them identified. Out in the open, these patterns of thought can be recognized and more effectively dealt with. Here are four of the top ten types of “Stinkin Thinkin” and how I am resolving to eliminate them from my thought process. See if you recognize any of them.

All-or-Nothing Thinking – I occasionally think like this in regard to exercise. If I don’t have time to do the complete hour that I desire, I don’t do any exercise at all. Burns tells of a lady who ate a spoon of ice cream, told herself she had “blown her diet completely” and then feeling defeated, gobbled down an entire quart of ice cream. As a recovering perfectionist, it is easy for me to slip into this pattern.

I am resolved to give each of the tasks in my life my best effort and be satisfied.  

Overgeneralization – Recently, while golfing with my friend Michael Hyatt, I missed a two foot putt. “I am a terrible putter!” I muttered. Michael’s wife Gail Hyatt responded, “You are an amazing putter. You only missed one putt!” I didn’t tell her about the other 12 putts I missed while she wasn’t looking, but she was right. A few missed putts are not reason to identify myself as a terrible putter. Have you ever called yourself a loser because of a failed relationship or a project that tanked?

I am resolved to not define myself by the mistakes I make in life.

Mental Filter –  I get tens of thousands of encouraging responses to my live shows and to my social media posts. But sometimes someone will deliver a hurtful, negative response. There have been occasions where I have chosen to ignore all the positive feedback and spent days obsessing over one negative comment.

Seeing this listed as “stinkin thinkin” caused me to resolve to ignore the unfair and purposefully hurtful comments and to learn from the comments that could contain constructive criticism.

Jumping to Conclusions – Several holes after missing the short putt I described earlier, I lined up a thirty foot putt muttering the words, “I can never make this.” Fortunately Gail heard my comment. “Have you already forgotten that you are an amazing putter?” she chirped, “You could make this.” I didn’t make that putt, but later in the day I chipped a ball in from much further away. I am so glad that Gail reminded me that if you don’t believe you can do something, your skill level decreases and your efforts to succeed will be greatly diminished. Of all people I should know how important it is to believe.

That’s right! Ken Davis, Lighten up radio host, fully alive author, ambassador of laughter, sometimes stinks in the way he thinks.

I am resolved with the help of God to change that!

I am resolved to remember I am a forgiven empowered child of the living God.

I will believe it,

think like it

and act like it!

Am I the only one who has practiced stinkin thinkin? 

Have you found a way to deodorize your thought process?

David Burns identifies 6 more types of “stinkin thinkin” here. I highly recommend you read the entire article. Gail Hyatt’s blog post is an extension of her positive approach to life.



  1. This is so true, we often follow the stinking thinking and get lost in that. Sometimes I find easier to take the path of one of my granddaughters. Makes life more fun.

  2. I just turned 40 years old and one of my mentor’s told me now that I am no longer a “kid” I am required to not think in negative terms. So far i’m not doing such a good job in following his instruction. :-

  3. This has been a struggle for me until a friend gave me a sound piece of advice. When I hear myself saying negative statements, I stop and imagine the words on a piece of paper and then physically reach up and pretend to crumple the paper and throw it away. The act of throwing out the negative words (even though I might look a little silly) sends a strong message to myself to “throw out negative thinking.” I’ve done this a lot and it really helps

    1. Since I am dyslectic, it is hard for me read the imaginary words on the paper, since I am short it is hard for me to reach the paper… Oh wait, there I go again!! (-; Always love your comments Pat.

  4. No way r u the only 1!!! Don’t EVER think this!
    Trust in The Lord, and HE shall direct your paths….

  5. My favorite way of keeping my thought process de-cluttered is to “fast” on complaining by:
    1. Setting the example (e.g., don’t complain about health, business, others, etc.)
    2. Help my 3 boys “reframe” from negative to positive (e.g., What will you do to influence the outcome?).
    3. Smile when people complain and either confront it directly or ease away depending on level of the relationship.

    Thank you Ken for sharing.

  6. By the way Ken, my Bride and I have seen you several times. We got hooked on you at Bill & Gloria’s Praise Gathering . Sure miss those Heavenly weekends . Finally you came to our home town(LaPorte, In). What a joy. You never disappoint. God Bless your Ministry. Your Brother, Marty

  7. Guilty of thinking all of the above and determined not to stay there! Transforming my mind one thought at a time.

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