Be Careful What You Say; You May Be Listening.

May 19, 2019

self-talk-designHow you communicate with others is important. How you talk with yourself is critical.

“You can think of self-talk as the inner voice equivalent of sports announcers commenting on a player’s successes or failures on the playing field. Unlike that sports commentary, which athletes never hear while they’re competing, you can actually “hear” what your self-talk is saying. When this is upbeat and self-validating, the results can boost your productivity. However, when the voice is critical and harsh, the effect can be emotionally crippling.”

— Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., writing for Psychology Today

Ever wish you could predict the future? Now that would be a handy SuperPower. You will get a pretty good idea of where your mind is headed—and therefore your life—if you listen to the things you say to yourself. Self-talk is a compelling window into the conversation that goes on, constantly, between your subconscious and conscious minds. This conversation can affirm your strengths, or it can argue for your weaknesses. Because of the Negative Bias phenomenon, discussed in Chapter 8 of my book Ignite your Dormant Superpowers, most of these thoughts will probably be negative.

Let’s say you are at lunch with colleagues from work (in the year 2043) and the conversation moves to the 30th installment of Pirates of the Caribbean. You hated the movie and say so. You point out that the series was dead after the 5th sequel and that by the 30th, and after a hip and two knee replacements, Jack didn’t have to fake his drunken walk, and that pairing him with a 24-year-old love interest smacked of pedophilia. No one at lunch agrees. Most of them think that it was the best since the first installment. Self-talk kicks in:

Well, that was a stupid thing for me to say. I believe what I said, but everyone disagrees, and some even seem angry. If my boss hears of this, she’ll think I have a problem getting along with others. There goes my promotion. I really screwed up this time. Why can’t I just keep my opinions to myself?

By the time you finish with this internal conversation, you feel worse than Jack looks. You run to the kitchen, pop an antidepressant and chase it with a tall glass of wine.

Change the Dialog

The first step in turning your self-talk positive is awareness. Be aware of the conversation going on inside. When the negativity begins to flow—stop it. Silva Mind Control, a self-help and meditation program developed by José Silva in the 1960s, taught that when you hear the negative dialog starting up, you say, “cancel, cancel.” This is a triggering mechanism that tells your subconscious to cut the crap. You can then consciously direct the conversation to the positive—with affirmative self-talk like:

I’m glad I spoke up. That movie sucked. If my colleagues all liked it, fine, but I am welcome to my own opinion.

I am glad that I had the guts to voice my opinion. I’m sure that some of them hated it too but were afraid to say so. Speaking my mind demonstrates that I am an independent thinker, do not fear criticism and have leadership qualities that the company will respect.

Positive self-talk can lift you up, bolster self-confidence and strengthen your self-image. The critical thing to remember is that, even though this is a conversation, both sides are you. You are not just listening to these negative messages; you’re sending them. They are the doubts and fears that reside within your comfort zone.


Outstrip Yesterday by what you do Today

October 6, 2010

“Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves – to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterday by our today.”  – Stewart B. Johnson

 When I read this it seemed like an echo from the past – words appropriate to another time and place – weird. And sad. So many people have been beaten down by the length and depth of the recession that optimism has become increasingly difficult.

And therein lies our conundrum: the more we are beaten down, the more difficult it is to draw upon the very resources we need to bring us back up. Oh, we could wait for a serendipitous occurrence to turn life around – a big sale, a new relationship, a sudden, spontaneous improvement in the economy (right). But to do so puts our lives in the hands of chance. You certainly don’t want it in the hands of the government.

If you want your swagger back – NOW; if you want to feel good about life, optimistic, anxious for each day to begin, confident in your ability to achieve, it has to come from within. The question is: how do we reclaim our confidence when reality keeps slapping us in the face? I hate to quote Madison Avenue, but the short answer is: Just Do It!

Wayne Dyer uncovered a clever truth about the old saying “You’ll believe it when you see it.” Turns out that it is true in its original form and when you reverse the meaning, “You’ll see it when you believe it.” The difference is that the original version requires a serendipitous occurrence while the revised version requires only a change in beliefs.

Our power to choose and change our attitude comes from the simple truth taught by Emerson and many others, “You are what you think about all day long.” We don’t need to wait for life to turn around, we can take control, decide what we want and take the actions required to make it so. The key is in the simple quote above: what do you think about? If you focus on past failures, you pull them into your present and forward into the future. To break any destructive cycle, you must replace the old, destructive images with positive thoughts of achievement, prosperity, happiness, confidence, success. If you’re thinking that this is too difficult, stop thinking so much. Just do it, do it now. It might help to remember a time when you did feel powerful and confident. Focus on that time until you “get the feeling,” then hold on to it as much and as long as you can. Practice this every day and miraculous things will happen. Your external reality will evolve in the direction of your intentions, your belief in what you can accomplish, where you are going. Have a good trip.


When all is failing, be optimistic!

August 24, 2010

Quote of the Week

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
–Helen Keller

 So, here is the million dollar question: How can you feel optimistic when you just lost 2 escrows and the one remaining is a short sale you’ve been nursing for 8 months? How can you feel confident when nothing seems to be working for you? (I know that was two questions) 

The answer is simple. Your level of optimism cannot be contingent upon how well “things are going.” Self-confidence cannot be contingent on whether you are currently successful. Huh? Yes, that is what I meant to say. Allowing your feelings to be contingent on past and present results is my definition of VICTIMHOOD. 

You have no control over your feelings when you allow them to be shaped by past or current results. They become like corks bouncing on the waves, controlled by the winds and the currents.  Is this how you want to live? Of course not. 

So, how do you break the relationship between what you see and what you believe? The same way you master anything—the same way you get to Carnegie Hall—practice, practice, practice. Detach your feelings from current events. Focus on your vision of the future. Visualize yourself as a happy, healthy, successful person and allow that image to mold your feelings. Yes you will feel better, but more than that—your positive, optimistic attitude will attract people into your life who can help you to succeed.

When you radiate self-confidence, others feel confident in your abilities.


Believe it when you See it

September 27, 2008

Quote of the Week

 

“Beliefs are the determinants of what one experiences. There are no external ’causes.'”
            
David Hawkins: Internationally renowned psychiatrist, physician, researcher

 

This quote embodies the essence of the phrase “taking responsibility.” Notice I didn’t say “Blame.” There is enough blame in the world without us blaming ourselves for our experience of life. I am no David Hawkins, but here is how I believe the process works:

 

Upon entering the world, we each begin to accumulate a unique set of beliefs. These can be as basic as fire burns, or as complex as the prejudicial beliefs we tend to develop toward certain groups of people (the Irish drink whiskey, Germans drink beer, college students drink anything). Throughout our lives we add and refine these beliefs based on experience. Ex: A man being chased by a rival comes across an apple tree. He picks up a handful of apples from the ground and throws them at his pursuer. He makes a decision that apples are weapons. Attracted by the smell of crushed apples he takes a bite. His belief is now modified to apples can be weapons or applesauce.

 

This long list of beliefs is the basis of our perception, the complex filter through which we view the world. If there was one human perception, there’d be no conflict – but here we are. Since our perception is made up of our beliefs, we tend to see what we expect to see and filter out what we don’t. The old phrase “You’ll Believe it when You See it,” would be more appropriately stated, “You’ll See it when You Believe it.” In summary, the entire process flows like this:

 

1.     Beliefs form our unique perception.

2.     How we perceive the world directs our actions.

3.     Our actions create our experience of the world.

4.     Thus: “Beliefs are the determinants of what one experiences.”

 

Viewed in this manner, we understand that it is our choice of beliefs that ultimately dictates our experience, not external causes. This understanding is helpful because it allows us to not only stop blaming others for our circumstances; it is the source of our power, what allows us to change our lives for the better.

By changing our underlying beliefs we alter our perception, modify our actions and, therefore,

transform our experience of the world.