Capturing the Really Awful Thoughts (RATs) that Eat Away at Your Success

Day 22 of 80 Days of Excellence

If you had a nasty rat in your house — would you feed it? Would you make a comfortable place for it to nest? Would you welcome it? Or would you TRAP IT and kill it and get it out? I hope you’d trap that Rat. Well, we all have RATs — “really awful thoughts” according to Tommy Newberry in his book The 4:8 Principle: The Secret to a Joy-Filled Life. Today let’s talk about dealing with those thoughts, those RATs that steal our joy.

really awful thoughts successful

While most of us understand why we don’t want rats in our house, many of us let RATs run around in our minds.

We feed these Really Awful Thoughts by thinking about them. We talk about them. We wake up in the night and relive them.

Small things become so big! Big things become behemoths.

9 Sources of Really Awful Thoughts

These are broken thought patterns, but don’t need to break us. The first step to catching a rat is to find out where it is!

Nine RATs that attack most of us at and can steal our joy:

  1. Cynical Cyclers – always seeing the worst.
  2. Always Amplifying – using words like “always” to describe your problem.
  3. Feeling-Led Decision Makers – facts and faith should drive your life, not feelings. Feelings can lead you astray, especially when you’re under a lot of pressure.
  4. Self-deceived Wishful Mind Readers (who can’t read minds at all) – people who think they can read other people’s minds. These people can’t but are convinced they know what others are thinking. This is so harmful and can feed a person’s paranoid feelings.
  5. “Drama Queen” Exaggerators – These people exaggerate and add a dramatic flair. Often, they feed gossip and are making non-existent issues into mountains with wagging tongues and hands on hips.
  6. The Paranoid Narcissist – These people think everyone is talking about them. Every look. Every word. Every sideways glance. They perceive that the whole universe not only revolves around them but has an opinion and is often out to get them. Their thinking is rarely straight.
  7. End of the World-ers – These people always think worst case scenario. What makes some of them so dangerous is not only that they think the worst will happen but some of them have a huge need to be right and so once they predict the end is near, they’ll do what they can to finish off something as quickly as possible – even when the good thing can indeed survive.
  8. Pity Party People – These people not only feel sorry for themselves but want everyone else to as well. They let their thoughts be influenced by every little negative circumstance. They load up these circumstances in a pity party backpack that they can unpack at any time with small things from years ago as easily rememberable as the thing that happened just today.
  9. Glory Days Worshippers – These people worship a past that never existed. Problems were worse and good times were better. None of it is true. So, instead of living today, they continue to experience a past that is an ever growing figment of their disillusioned imagination.

All of us can fall into traps like these. That is why they are called Really Awful Thoughts or RATs. I recommend  The 4:8 Principle: The Secret to a Joy-Filled Life as a great book to help get your thinking on track.

Find the RATs and GET RID OF THEM!

However, in today’s post as we consider excellence, I want you to ponder —

  • Are you feeding the RATs?
  • Are you nourishing those negative thoughts?
  • Are there RATs you need to trap and replace with good things?

You’d have to be sick to want to live in a rat-infested house or a RAT infested mind.

This post is day 22 of 80 days of excellence. I’ve created an email list below for those of you want to be emailed the full posts written as part of this series.

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2 thoughts on “Capturing the Really Awful Thoughts (RATs) that Eat Away at Your Success

  1. I really appreciate this series. It is quickly becoming my daily meditation. I loved the names of the RATS. There was no sugar coating . Your descriptions made me face the music and realize how destructive and ugly these habits are.