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The power of self talk.

June 5th, 2014

Are you your own worst enemy?


Success and Failure Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

Over my lifetime I would hate to count the number of times that I have called myself, silly, stupid, an idiot or dumb.  You know, those moments that you leave the supermarket and realise that you have forgotten to get one item.  At these times it is all too easy to mutter something like “that was stupid” or “you idiot”. On other occasions when we are faced with a task that we dislike doing or feel we are not good at we will say something internally to ourselves along the lines of “I am so not going to enjoy this”, or “great, I hate shopping it’s always so boring”.

Right now you are possibly saying to yourself, “oh joys of joys another one of THOSE articles” and do you know what?  You are probably right!  Why? Because as Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t.  You are right!”

In essence he was telling us that what we believe is what will happen/be achieved.  Perhaps more importantly he was telling us also what what we think we cannot do, we will not do.  So what was he going on about?

Self Talk…

Self Talk is that inside your head voice, the one I talked about earlier, the one that sometimes even makes it into the outside world as you are cursing yourself on the way back into the supermarket for that forgotten item.  When the self talk takes this form or that of making an assumption that we are not going to enjoy something (or similar) is called negative self talk.

Without all of the neuroscience and put simply, when you say stuff about yourselves either in your own minds or out loud AND you say it often enough, then your brain starts to believe it.  As a result, your experiences will start to reflect this this new belief.

Here are a couple of  questions I would ask you to answer honestly!  How many times have you gone to an event or participated in something you knew before you attended, you were going to hate?  How many times have you said to yourself  “I was right, I thought I was going to get bored doing …..”?  I expect not one person can say they have never experienced this.  What I would ask you now to consider is: Did you actually create the negative experience through all of the negative self talk before it have even happened?

Similarly, when you have a task to complete that you know you are not good at, I am willing to bet you set about that task with a negative self talk.  For example, I know of people who just cannot get along with computers.  They come to me and say “I am so useless at using this machine, I am never going to understand how to use them!”  You know what?  They don’t. Again, they have talked themselves out of being able to do something that is totally within their ability.

So what now?

Now you know that experiences can be influenced before they occur and that you can talk yourself out of achieving things, it is time to make a change for the better.    Before I suggest how to make this change I would warn you that this does take time and effort.  There are no quick fixes in life as with any change it takes effort.  However, believe me, the benefits to your life can be amazing and it is worth the effort.

When you are about to say something inside your head or out loud then imagine a giant red STOP button in your mind.  Hit that button and say inside your mind, “stop”.   By doing this you have paused your brain and now you need to replace the impending negative self talk with a positive replacement.  If you cannot think of something immediately I would suggest you say to yourself, “I always say positive things about my self or my situation”.

Why did I not say you should replace it with ” I must not use negative self talk”?  Well, to be honest that is another blog all together but in essence our brains cannot think in negatives. All it would see is “negative self talk” and forget the “I must not”.   It is like if I say “do not think of a car”.

I bet many of you did, despite being told not to!

A better future!

Now that you are armed with the knowledge and power of self talk, it is time to put it into practice.  As I have said, it doesn’t happen over night, but the more you practice it the easier it becomes.  The more you use positive self talk and remove the negative, you can become more content with yourself and life as a whole.  Not only that but remember Henry Ford, and believe in yourself. There is very little that you cannot achieve!

This blog is a taster of how you can unlock your own hidden potential.  Performance Works can run half day sessions to help motivation of your workforce or arrange for personal coaching to help your business grow!

Contact us now for a FREE consultation


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