Likewise people make a similar error when they commit what is called the fortune teller thinking error. With the fortune teller error you assume your hypotheses (i.e. your hunches) as to what the future holds are absolutely true. For example, you may do a self-examination and feel a lump somewhere on your body and then formulate the uninformed hypothesis this lumps means you have malignant cancer instead of a benign growth. The problem is not with your uninformed hypothesis so much as with your degree of conviction that it is true. Alternatively, you could notice the lump and hypothesize it might or might not be a true medical problem and feel healthy concern that motivates you to seek a medical consult promptly. Keep in mind that even the most experienced and wise people cannot predict the future. So formulate your hypotheses as to what will happen in the future but follow the principles of REBT and see that it is far better if you view your hypotheses as hypotheses to be tested rather than as absolute facts. Then make an effort to try to gather data to do a good test of these hypotheses.
Finally, let's assume you follow the teachings of REBT and learn to view your hunches or predictions to be evaluated against the available data. So instead of mind reading about what others are thinking you ask them what they are thinking in order to test your hypothesis. Likewise, instead of assuming the worst and committing the fortune telling error you test your hypothesis. You get data and you find out that in fact that you have turned off someone and they are in fact unhappy with you. Likewise let’s assume you go to a physician to have that lump examined and you learn you have a medical problem. Now in these two instances your hypotheses were proven to be true and you have two problems on your hands. One is that someone is unhappy with you and the other is that you have a medical problem to face. In REBT we teach you to tolerate and accept the worst case scenario if and when it happens. It may be hard for you to do but you can learn to accept that sometimes in life people will be unhappy with you and you can still accept yourself despite this unfortunate scenario. Likewise, you can learn to accept and philosophically tolerate the misfortune of even serious medical illness. Acceptance and philosophical tolerance is at the heart of REBT and comes in very handy because sometimes your negative hypotheses or hunches will unfortunately be accurate. Acceptance and tolerance is your “ace in the hole” for when you get that dreaded news. Acceptance and tolerance rests on having a flexible and scientific point of view.
REBT is complex so continue to think about it and push yourself to implement it. It will serve you well.