The Power of Self-Talk
“Repeat anything long enough and it will start to become you” – Tom Hopkins, Author
All of us, at one time or another, have caught ourselves talking to our self. We feel kind of silly and may even think that something is wrong with us! But research has shown that having inner conversations can have a powerful impact on our emotional well-being and motivation. This is true whether our self-talk is positive or negative. Did you know that research has shown that 77% of the average person’s self talk is negative? Wow…77%! That is why we need to pay attention to our self-talk to make sure that our inner voice is positive. Famous sports psychologist Denis Waitley states “Relentless, repetitive self talk is what changes our self-image.”
We need to keep in mind that positive self-talk is not the same as mindless positive thinking, mindless optimism or just repeating happy affirmations to ourselves. Nor is it repeating thoughts that delude reality. For example telling myself that I can become a painter like Michelangelo is flawed because I can’t even draw a stick figure! The key to positive self-talk is to recognize when our thinking is flawed and self-delusional and replace those messages with ones that are rational and appropriate.
The real power of positive self-talk is how it can actually change our behavior. It is important to monitor what we say to ourselves and ask ourselves the question: “Is the way I am using my internal language programming me for success or failure?” When we do this we will not only become more aware of our own self-talk but also the self-talk of others. You will begin to see that being around other people who use positive self-talk actually has a positive impact on our motivation and our mood.
Finally, after thinking correctly and positively we must follow the vector that our new, accurate, and positive inner talk points to. To align our behaviors with our new positive self-talk ask yourself these questions: What behavior has my negative self-talk caused? How has that negative self-talk hindered me from reaching my goals? What actions does my positive self-talk suggest? How will my life be better when I change? And the final key question: When and how will I start to change?
World Class performers and leaders know that correct, positive self-talk is the generator that changes our behavior, fuels our motivation, and ultimately drives our performance!