A – Activating event: an event that happens in the environment

B – Beliefs: the belief you have about the event that happened

C – Consequence: the emotional response to your belief

Sadly, some of us have the following three irrational beliefs:

  1. I must do well and win others’ approval or else I am no good.
  2. Others must treat me fairly and kindly and in the same way I want them to treat me. If they do not treat me this way, they are not good people and deserve to be punished
  3. I must always get what I want, when I want it. Likewise, I must never get what I don’t want. If I don’t get what I want, I’m miserable.

The above beliefs are bound to create emotions such as anxiety, depression, shame, guilt, anger, self-pity and loss of commitment.

If we were to ensure to have the right beliefs, such as:

  1. I can’t win everybody’s approval and win approval of certain people all the time.
  2. Others will not always be fair or kind, they may treat me “badly” and I will deal with it in the best possible manner.
  3. I will get what I want on occasions, and on occasions I will be patient. I will also learn to overcome undesirable situations that I may face in my life.

In the ABC model, you and I need to nurture the right beliefs. You and I cannot control events that we face, but what beliefs we carry about ourselves and the events will determine the consequences.

For example:

Activating event: A potential customer doesn’t buy from the salesman.

Belief: (Limiting) The salesman may feel that the potential customer is unfair.

  1. (Limiting) The salesman will feel helpless, rejected and become non-committal.

On the other hand, a more enabling belief will lead to enabling consequence:

Belief: (Enabling) In sales, rejection is a part of the process, I will move on and make the sale.

Consequence: (Enabling) The salesman remains resilient, committed, and finds another customer to finalize the sale.

The following four beliefs will help you to frame the right mindset:

  1. Fall seven times, get up eight times.
  2. Life without endeavor is like entering a jewel mine and coming out empty handed.
  3. I have no jealousy nor animosity towards others, if I know that I have put forth my own best effort.
  4. Even monkeys fall from the trees (experts also make mistakes.)

Keep nurturing enabling beliefs, and whatever may be the events, the consequences will be positive.

Adapted by Vijay Batra from Dr. Alber Ellis’s ABC model