Advice & Help

What Do You Say When You Talk To Yourself?

Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing wrong in talking out loud to yourself; even in public. It’s when you begin to respond that you should have cause for concern. In fact, every minute of the day we engage in a continuous internal conversation or “self talk,” which is ultimately reflected in our moods, attitudes, actions and habits. By monitoring and exerting control over this inner dialog we can begin to effectively control every other part of our lives. Facing and overcoming daily difficulties and recovering from setbacks are knitted into the fabric of human experiences. Likewise, goal striving and stretching beyond our perceived limitations is also part of what it is to be a human being. To a large extent, much of our ability to succeed comes from our outlook on life. Success in business, building strong personal relationships, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle all stem from having a sunny disposition. As I‘ve heard it often said, “no one wants to be around a doggone, disillusioned crybaby.” It all comes down to how you talk to yourself on a daily basis.

Tune in to your self talk

I am sure you’ve heard it said before, “it’s not what happens to you but how you react to it.” The way you react to any situation is a direct result of how you explain it to yourself. We must learn to listen to the things we are saying to ourselves and change the languages from negative to positive. Whenever I find myself sinking into a low mood I immediately begin to ask myself, “What was I saying to myself right before I started feeling this way?” I then change my self talk. It may sound trivial to you, but another tactic I use is to eliminate certain words from my vocabulary. For example, I chose not to use the word “problem.” A problem is something that is perplexing and burdensome. I prefer the word “challenge.” A challenge, on the other hand, is a test. It arouses and stimulates, you rise to meet it and it makes you stronger. Given the same situation, the two words will elicit totally different emotional responses.

Your thoughts build self esteem

Self esteem and confidence are the foundation for competency and high achievement. It is impossible to develop any skills without first thinking highly of yourself and your ability to acquire those skills. Start your day in front of the mirror repeating affirmations such as, “I can do it,” “I like myself” or “I am the best.” These affirmations will build your levels of self esteem and self confidence. At first you may feel strange saying them. This is because, over the years, your mind has been programmed to believe otherwise. You may not even be the best right now and could construe this as lying to yourself. I prefer to look at it as telling the truth in advance. Additionally, since we were all designed for success, any self talk that causes us to be anything less than our potential is an even bigger lie. Your mind can only hold one thought at a time. Constantly repeating these affirmations will eventually replace the negative programming buried in your subconscious.

Your thoughts manifest your goals

Buddha reminds us that “What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: Our life is the creation of our mind.”

Consequently, we need to keep our thoughts on our future and our goals. We should be constantly thinking about the person we want to be. By focusing on our goals, we will be guided to actions that lead to their attainment. Even when things go wrong our attitude will not be one of resignation but instead, one of understanding that the path to success is paved with peaks and valleys. Difficulties will be seen as opportunities to get stronger. The more you keep your thoughts on your goals, the more likely they are to be realized. As Henry David Thoreau says, “Thought is the sculptor who can create the person you want to be.”

High achieving individuals are generally more positive, optimistic and resilient. They exert control over the small voice in their mind and as a result attract the goals and dreams they have for themselves. You too will be just like them as soon as you start making note of what you say when you talk to yourself.

Keep on Pushing!

About the author

Devon Harris

Devon Harris was a member of the Jamaican Bobsleigh team and competed in three Winter Olympics; he later joined the army and attended the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst. Born on Christmas Day, 1964 and raised in a violent ghetto environment in Kingston, Jamaica, the greatest gift Devon Harris ever received was the belief that a positive attitude and a never say die philosophy would carry him farther than a sense of injustice and a heart filled with anger.A graduate of the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England, Devon received a Queen’s Commission in December 1985 and served in the officer corps of the Jamaica Defence Force until December 1992 when he retired as a Captain.At the heart of Devon’s message are the lessons he has learned of the power of persistence over all sorts of obstacles in order to live one's best life. His mission is to bring this message of how everyone can keep on pushing and working for their dreams every day of their professional as well as personal lives.Encouraged by his commanding officer, Devon tried out for and was selected to the first Jamaican bobsled team which competed in the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada. Their exploits inspired the Disney blockbuster movie Cool Runnings. Devon also competed in and was captain of the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France and the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan.The Keep On Pushing Foundation which he founded in 2006 aims to support and enhance the education of kids in disadvantaged communities around the globe by providing practical solutions to the challenges that are preventing them from getting educated.Through the Keep on Pushing Foundation, Devon also works with Right to Play as an athlete ambassador, supporting Right to Play’s efforts in using sports and play in refugee camps around the world to enhance child development and build community capacity.As an ex-serviceman, Devon understands the commitment, sense of duty and sacrifices made by those who volunteer to serve. As a private citizen he is cognizant of the fact that the freedoms he enjoys are paid for by the courage and sacrifice of these men and women. As a result he has also devoted time to visit the troops serving in the Persian Gulf.He is the author of the motivational children’s book, Yes, I Can! and the semi-auto-biographical motivational book Keep On Pushing: Hot Lesson From Cool Runnings.