Thinking Yourself Happy: Jumping to Conclusions

Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus


Charles met Debbie at a friend’s wedding and found her to be very attractive. A few weeks later, he invited her to join him for dinner with two other couples. Debbie was so quiet throughout the evening that Charles lost interest in her then and there. “She’s a total bore!” he said. A mutual friend who knew Debbie very well assured Charles that Debbie was usually vivacious and lots of fun. “Maybe Debbie had one of her low-grade migraine headaches,” Charles’s friend explained, “and that’s why she was so withdrawn and quiet.” Charles didn’t buy it. He insisted that Debbie was a “non-person.”


Have you noticed how many people jump to conclusions; how they form opinions about people and events on extremely limited exposure? Do you tend to go by first impressions?

Those who arrive at premature conclusions, who don’t obtain sufficient information to draw well-reasoned conclusions, are likely to be wrong and will suffer accordingly.

• Whenever you make generalizations or draw conclusions based on limited exposure, you are likely to be wrong.

After a brief visit to England, John decided that he’d like to live there and was delighted to accept a job offer. Within a week he realized that he’d made a serious mistake. Had he examined the situation and lifestyle more carefully, he’d have realized that he’d need to change too drastically to fit in. Meanwhile, he lost his well-paying job in this country and created a major problem for himself.

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It will be greatly to your benefit to dig for facts rather than jump to conclusions.

• Ask yourself if you have asked enough questions to check out your assumptions.

Asking whether there are aspects or elements about which you’re unaware could be helpful. Ask: “Do I really know the whole story?”

• Aim for balance. Look before you leap (but don’t keep on looking so hard and so long that you end up missing the boat!).


Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus is a licensed psychologist, Co-founder and Clinical Director of The Lazarus Institute. In addition to his general psychotherapy practice, Dr. Clifford Lazarus specializes in health and neuropsychology.

Dr. Clifford Lazarus received his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University where he was a Henry Rutgers Research Scholar.  Seen here are excerpts from one of his books, The 60-Second Shrink – 101 Strategies For Staying Sane In a Crazy World, a book, he co-authored with his father “One of the ten most influential psychotherapists in America”  Arnold A. Lazarus, Ph.D.  For more details on Dr. Clifford Lazarus visit this link to The Lazarus Institute.  Or visit his page here on

Books available at Amazon by Arnold and Clifford Lazarus

Direct links to two highly recommended books by Dr. Clifford Lazarus & Dr. Arnold A. Lazarus:

The 60-Second Shrink: 101 Strategies for Staying Sane in a Crazy World 

Don’t Believe It for a Minute!: Forty Toxic Ideas That Are Driving You Crazy

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