Why is Nelly so Upset?

Did you know humanoids can take in 11 million bits of information with all five of senses at any give moment? That is a crazy amount of information! Why don’t you go crazy evaluating all that info? Your very smart system filters out most of it so that you only consciously pay attention to about 7 bits at a time. In other words, you literally create your reality by that to which you give attention.

Now, mental shortcuts are cool because they save you from sensory overload, but they can also cause problems. Since the reality you perceive is based on select bits of information only, sometimes you misjudge situations. Youthlings tend to misjudge situations often. They may only pay attention to the negative, exaggerate or magnify a problem, or they might decide one problem in one area of life means their entire life “stinks.” On Eudaimonia, we call these distortions of reality ThoughtHoles!

Watch the clip above and see if you can guess the type of  ThoughtHole! Nelly is in.

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Neutrino’s Take

Nelly is leapfrogging (humanoids call this jumping to conclusions). She doesn’t have enough information to know that she’s done poorly on the math test or that her friend Sabrina is mad at her, but she decides to conclude that this is the reality. In order for Nelly to increase the accuracy of her statements, she must collect more evidence to support whether or not “everything stinks,” in reality.

It’s important to teach your youthlings to judge situations based on the reality of a situation. This means collecting enough evidence and data points to view a situation accurately. Misjudgments or ThoughtHoles! in logic can really make a youthling feel bad for no reason. It can further affect their resilience or ability to overcome an adversity.

Leapfrogging and the 8 common ThoughtHoles! are ideas illustrated and discussed in-depth within the GoStrengths! programs. Learn more here.


Beck, Aaron T. Cognitive therapy and the emotional disorders. New York: International Universities Press, 1976.

Nørretranders, Tor. The user illusion: cutting consciousness down to size. New York: Viking, 1998.

1 thought on “Why is Nelly so Upset?”

  1. While watching this, I saw both of my kids and myself in Nelly. I find my kids often “leapfrogging” (to use Neutrino’s term) or making sweeping generalizations, often to the tune that nothing is going right, everything is falling apart etc. I try to play the role of Nelly’s dad, by refuting these statements, but I realized that I myself often jump to conclusions when speaking to my husband or friends. I think both my kids and I could benefit from trying to change this!


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