“I never do anything right.”
“I made a mistake, I will keep screwing up.”
“Even though I got an A, I missed two questions.  I can’t believe I was so stupid.”
“I am going to fail this test.”
What thoughts we pay attention to and the focus of our mental filter creates our reality.  Two people can have a similar situation (i.e. taking a college campus tour) and have vastly different experiences. One person sees graffiti, a crying student, and a dirty sidewalk. The other sees trees and flowers, a large library, and a group of students talking excitedly.
Is it possible to interpret situations based on all the information?  No, there is simply too much stimuli to process. The subconscious mind can absorb 20 million bits of information through the five senses in a second.  By intelligent design, data is filtered so that our conscious mind focuses on 7 to 40 bits.  This is a mental shortcut.
Shortcuts help prevent sensory overload and allow us to judge situations quickly.  However, shortcuts also leave us vulnerable to errors in perception.  Since we are only taking in a slice of information, if that information is unbalanced (e.g. ignores the positive and focuses on the negative), we are left with a skewed perspective.
wrong way-website
8 Unhelpful Thinking Shortcuts
We are susceptible to errors in thinking and tend to make the same errors repeatedly.  Aaron Beck (often referred to as the father of cognitive therapy), and his former student, David Burns, uncovered eight common thoughts hole:
  1. Jumping to conclusions: judging a situation based on assumptions as opposed to definitive facts
  1. Mental filtering: paying attention to the negative details in a situation while ignoring the positive
  1. Magnifying: magnifying negative aspects in a situation
  1. Minimizing: minimizing positive aspects in a situation
  1. Personalizing: assuming the blame for problems even when you are not primarily responsible
  1. Externalizing: pushing the blame for problems onto others even when you are primarily responsible
  1. Overgeneralizing: concluding that one bad incident will lead to a repeated pattern of defeat
  1. Emotional reasoning: assuming your negative emotions translate into reality, or confusing feelings with facts
Changing your mind one thought hole at a time
Once we are aware of unhelpful thinking, we can pay attention to when we use them.  When situations or stress arises, we can follow a three-step plan to stop the downward spiral of skewed reality.
  1. Check for common thought holes
  2. Collect evidence to paint an accurate picture
  3. Challenge the original thoughts
Let’s use an example to see how this plays out.  Susan has the thought, “I am going to fail this test.”  First, we check for common shortcuts.  It seems she has jumped to conclusions.
Next step, collect for evidence to broaden the perspective of the situation.  Susan may start the internal dialogue, “I have never failed a test before.”  “I have study for the past week and have done well on the quizzes.”  “I thought I was going to fail last time and then got an A-.”
With all the evidence collected, Susan can now challenge her original thought.  One way to do this is for Susan to have a debate with herself.  On one side is Susan believing she will fail, on the other side is Susan who thinks she can be successful.  Susan can use information collected to have a meeting in her mind or on paper.  In the end, this type of disputation improves thought accuracy and emotional well-being.
Thought holes can skew our relationships, self-esteem, and happiness.  It is possible work to change how your mind filters information and stop unhelpful thought holes that take away from what you want in life.  
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Paraphrased from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/SEL-filling-in-thought-holes-renee-jain