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Confession compels us to acknowledge who we are and to continually seek to improve. What's more, confession puts us in the position to receive God's peace, comfort, and forgiveness. Confess has its origin in "agreement." So beyond the relief from worrying that we might be found out, confession means agreeing with God about our wrongdoing--and then agreeing with him in how we might work to make it right. The psalmist provides insight into the healing process: "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, `I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.' And you forgave the guilt of my sin" (Psalm 32:3, 5). One of the most formidable enemies facing people working to heal from depression is isolation. By ourselves, we're far more likely to get stuck in unhealthy habits and distorted thought patterns. Our lives become closed echo chambers endlessly reinforcing our sense of hopelessness and despair. What's needed to break through those lonely walls is a community of caring people willing to open their arms and make room for one more fellow traveler. The right faith community can be just that. Most of my fellow Christians have come to their faith by one difficult road or another. People who share your faith will likely understand the challenges you face in your journey back from depression because they've walked a similar path. They'll provide a nonjudgmental shoulder to lean on. Belonging to a faith community also provides a tangible reminder that you are not the only struggling person in the world. There's healing in remembering that life does not revolve around you and that even in your darkest moments, you are not uniquely alone. Furthermore, church gatherings will reveal that music, celebration, joy, gratitude, and service are all still alive and well in the world. A dozen or a hundred or a thousand voices all singing together can be a magical salve to a wounded heart. While creating a positive mind set, it's time to cut out all the negativity that we tend to dwell on in our lives. Some of it is internal, and you'll find that the more positive you become, the less negative thoughts will plague your days, but all those unsavoury influences outside of you can put a serious dent in your new perspective if you're not careful.

So, you need to take a scalpel to the relationships that make you feel worst. If you have friends that constantly tell you how you cannot do something, or are in a romantic relationship with someone who doesn't support any of your hobbies or dreams, you either need to sit down and have a chat about or you need to completely remove them from your life. There a lot of situations where negativity can dig in and ruin your world view. But, that doesn't mean you cannot find success in those situations. You must learn to either remove those influences or give them less stock. When it is family or a loved one, you should communicate your desire to hear positive support, and if you cannot, limit the contact you have to ensure you are more successful. Once the negativity is cut out of your life, it's time to replace it with people who get you. Lucky for you there is a whole book sitting in front of you that can help you do just that. This comes with time, but I want you to honestly consider every time you meet someone for the first time what that person brings to your life. Avoid selfishly thinking about what they can do for you - that's a habit no one should get into. Instead, think about how their attitude will affect your self-esteem and general approach to the world. If they're constantly positive and honestly enjoy your company, they're a good friend to have. If they complain a lot and put you down, think about whether you really need to be friends with someone who makes you feel crummy. Right up there with negativity, stress can put a huge drain on your likability. Imagine what someone would think if they met you right after you finished working a 12 hour day, running errands and sitting in traffic for another hour. Would they be very interested in your new kickboxing hobby or would they think "man, they are stressed!." With all the ways our decisions can go wrong, you would think we'd have a little humility about our ability to make accurate judgments--but we don't. Research has consistently demonstrated that we're overconfident in the judgments we make. And these include the judgments of professionals like doctors, lawyers, security analysts, and engineers. One study showed, for instance, that when doctors diagnosed pneumonia, they were 88 percent confident in their diagnoses, even though their patients had pneumonia only 20 percent of the time. Sixty-eight percent of lawyers believe that they will win their case, when only 50 percent can.

When people predicted whether stocks were going to rise or fall from market reports, only 47 percent of their predictions were correct, but their average confidence was 65 percent. Over 85 percent of us think we're better drivers than the average person. In most every aspect of life, we consistently overrate our knowledge and abilities. Of course, in some cases overconfidence helps us achieve things we normally wouldn't. Few people would start a new business if they thought it wasn't going to succeed, yet over two-thirds of small businesses fail within the first four years of their start-up. However, overconfidence can also cause catastrophic results. Before the space shuttle Challenger exploded, NASA estimated the probability of a catastrophe to be one in one hundred thousand launches. That's equivalent to launching the shuttle every day for three centuries! With such confidence, it's no wonder NASA thought they could launch the shuttle under extremely adverse conditions. Overconfidence also leads to the planning fallacy. Do you normally underestimate the time or expense to complete a project? Most of us do. When students estimated how long it would take to write their theses, their average estimate of 33.9 days fell way short of the 55.5 days it actually took.28 Government projects are particularly susceptible to the planning fallacy. When the Australian government decided to build the famous Sydney Opera House in 1957, they thought it could be completed by 1963 at a cost of $7 million. In fact, a scaled-down version opened in 1973 at a cost of $102 million. The city of Boston recently constructed a new underground highway system known as the "big dig." The initial estimates indicated the project would be completed in 1998 and cost $2.6 billion. The majority of the work was completed by 2005, with a price tag of over $14 billion! Research consistently reveals little or no relation between our confidence and accuracy. As an example, when clinical psychologists and students repeatedly evaluated patients after receiving increasing amounts of information, confidence in their judgments went up, but accuracy stayed about the same.30 Particularly disconcerting, psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, who studies the relationship between eyewitness court testimony and accuracy in criminal identification, concluded, "One should not take high confidence as any absolute guarantee of anything."31 Even when eyewitnesses are extremely confident in their identifications, they are often wrong. Studies have also found no relation between confidence and accuracy when clinicians diagnose brain damage, or when physicians diagnose cancer or pneumonia.32 In effect, physicians are as confident on the cases they misdiagnose as they are on the cases they diagnose correctly.

Just because we think we know something, doesn't always mean we do. One reason we're overconfident is we remember the hits and forget the misses--we often remember the times we're successful, and forget the times we fail. It's a bit more complicated, however, because sometimes our failures are our most vivid memories. It turns out that even when we remember our failures, we interpret them in a way that still bolsters our belief. Eileen Langer, a Harvard psychologist, calls it the "Heads I win, tails its chance" phenomenon.33 As we saw with gamblers' behavior, if we're successful, we think the positive outcome was caused by our knowledge and ability. If we're unsuccessful, we think the negative outcome was caused by something we had no control over. As a result, we reinterpret our failures to be consistent with an overall positive belief in our abilities. With all the ways our decisions can go wrong, you would think we'd have a little humility about our ability to make accurate judgments--but we don't. Research has consistently demonstrated that we're overconfident in the judgments we make. And these include the judgments of professionals like doctors, lawyers, security analysts, and engineers. One study showed, for instance, that when doctors diagnosed pneumonia, they were 88 percent confident in their diagnoses, even though their patients had pneumonia only 20 percent of the time. Sixty-eight percent of lawyers believe that they will win their case, when only 50 percent can. When people predicted whether stocks were going to rise or fall from market reports, only 47 percent of their predictions were correct, but their average confidence was 65 percent. Over 85 percent of us think we're better drivers than the average person. In most every aspect of life, we consistently overrate our knowledge and abilities. Of course, in some cases overconfidence helps us achieve things we normally wouldn't. Few people would start a new business if they thought it wasn't going to succeed, yet over two-thirds of small businesses fail within the first four years of their start-up. However, overconfidence can also cause catastrophic results. Before the space shuttle Challenger exploded, NASA estimated the probability of a catastrophe to be one in one hundred thousand launches. That's equivalent to launching the shuttle every day for three centuries!

With such confidence, it's no wonder NASA thought they could launch the shuttle under extremely adverse conditions. Overconfidence also leads to the planning fallacy. Do you normally underestimate the time or expense to complete a project? Most of us do. When students estimated how long it would take to write their theses, their average estimate of 33.9 days fell way short of the 55.5 days it actually took.28 Government projects are particularly susceptible to the planning fallacy. When the Australian government decided to build the famous Sydney Opera House in 1957, they thought it could be completed by 1963 at a cost of $7 million. In fact, a scaled-down version opened in 1973 at a cost of $102 million. The city of Boston recently constructed a new underground highway system known as the "big dig." The initial estimates indicated the project would be completed in 1998 and cost $2.6 billion. The majority of the work was completed by 2005, with a price tag of over $14 billion! Research consistently reveals little or no relation between our confidence and accuracy. As an example, when clinical psychologists and students repeatedly evaluated patients after receiving increasing amounts of information, confidence in their judgments went up, but accuracy stayed about the same.30 Particularly disconcerting, psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, who studies the relationship between eyewitness court testimony and accuracy in criminal identification, concluded, "One should not take high confidence as any absolute guarantee of anything."31 Even when eyewitnesses are extremely confident in their identifications, they are often wrong. Studies have also found no relation between confidence and accuracy when clinicians diagnose brain damage, or when physicians diagnose cancer or pneumonia.32 In effect, physicians are as confident on the cases they misdiagnose as they are on the cases they diagnose correctly. Just because we think we know something, doesn't always mean we do. One reason we're overconfident is we remember the hits and forget the misses--we often remember the times we're successful, and forget the times we fail. It's a bit more complicated, however, because sometimes our failures are our most vivid memories. It turns out that even when we remember our failures, we interpret them in a way that still bolsters our belief. Eileen Langer, a Harvard psychologist, calls it the "Heads I win, tails its chance" phenomenon.33 As we saw with gamblers' behavior, if we're successful, we think the positive outcome was caused by our knowledge and ability. If we're unsuccessful, we think the negative outcome was caused by something we had no control over. As a result, we reinterpret our failures to be consistent with an overall positive belief in our abilities. Mindfulness is a function that disarms distractions, in the same way that a munitions expert might defuse a bomb.