3 Ways to Talk Yourself to Success - Leading NLP Center Malaysia
Rapport: The Hidden Truth – Part 2
January 28, 2016
John La Valle NLP Amsterdam
Interview with John La Valle
April 10, 2018

Have you ever told yourself to remember important numbers or to do something? How about talking to yourself before making a big decision? Maybe when you are trying to work through a tricky math problem? Some branches of psychology and their enthusiasts might want to stick a label on you as a schizophrenic, but self-talk is actually quite a common occurrence and part of a normal human processes. Granted, it is quite a peculiar sight to see someone having a loud, full-blown conversation with themselves in public, but self-talk in itself isn’t unusual and like many other things we do, depending on how it is done, self-talk can be a powerful tool in the process of remembering, thinking, behaving, or even solving problems better.


The Athlete’s Mindset

Self-talk is more accepted these days so to make it more obvious how prevalent it is, let’s take a commonly linked analogy of business, leadership and management – Sports. We know that when elite athletes train or when they perform at competitions, they each run a mental routine to quiet their minds, sharpen their focus, and bring into their minds the goals they want to focus on. The process might vary from athlete and from sport to sport but the way they do this is through harnessing self-talk to be positive. Much of the self-talk I refer to is to the voices we use to speak to ourselves when thinking in our mind. For some, it might sometimes be expressed out loud. Most people do so without their awareness because it’s such a common way in which we process our thoughts. For example, NBA legend Karl Malone’s famous routine at the free throw line is to say out loud to himself, “Karl Malone does what Karl Malone’s gotta do.”

Another NBA Hall of Famer, Reggie Miller, was notorious for trash talking on the court, but admits he uses it more to psyche himself up rather than getting into the head of his opponent. As he himself begins to perform better, the negative trash talk he uses then has a bit more effect on the opponent’s mind. He knows it only works some of the times because he is going against mentally trained athletes. And if it does, it’s a bonus. It’s clever way of using reflecting self talk outside to boost ourselves inside. As we do the things we decide to, it is important for us that all the voices in the mind resonate the same voice speaking the same message of success and the belief that the action we take will be successful. Self-talk isn’t just a common symptom of schizophrenia misdiagnosis anymore, it is more importantly something you can use to your advantage.

“Yes, I can! Yes, I can!”

There is a famous scene in the 1996’s version of The Nutty Professor, where Professor Klump is hallucinating his alter ego on TV saying over and over again, “You can’t beat me!” To which his reply is “Yes, I can!” As a business entrepreneur and leader, you probably imagine and hear the naysayers more often (and much louder) than most. In fact, on some days, it seems like you can hear them even when they aren’t even there, and the result of which is you feeling bad. That’s negative self-talk working the way it is supposed to, and the way you allow it to work. But as I mentioned earlier, you are capable of using your mind reshape into a more positive way. Bear in mind that it’s more than just thinking positive. Here are three of my favourite ways to affect the internal dialogue to change the way we feel and ultimately behave.

  1. Pay attention to what tone or tonality you’re using with what you’re saying. If you’re speaking in a confident yet condescending tone about your future plans, chances are you’re not that certain about the plan’s chances of success. Similarly, if you say, “Oh, it’s you again” in an irritated and disappointed tonality whenever you meet a colleague, you’re more likely to be close minded and contemptuous of their ideas, even if it is actually a good idea.
  2. Ridicule the negative voice. It’s so childishly simple and yet effective. Answer this honestly – Would you ever take advice from someone whom you mock with every word they speak? Similarly, use a calmer, friendlier, confident voice to get you back into a neutral or positive mindset.
  3. Adding ‘But’ at the end of every negative sentence we say to ourselves. By doing this, our minds are forced to not only un-punctuate the sentence, we are inclined to say something positive after each negative thing. For example, “That was a huge mistake I’ve made BUT…” Allow yourself to fill in the rest and you’ll find the answer is always positive. That in itself tells you that despite whatever negativity is around you, you can also see the silver lining.

As you begin to reshape the way you speak to yourself and from now on use it to positively prepare you for future challenges, remember that the power of self-talk lies with ‘self’ and repetition if necessary for any new behavior to become a new habit.

For other useful tips and other life changing ideas, please read our other blogs and learn the #AuthenticNLP™ with NaviGo® NLP Center.

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