Perhaps the most powerful influence on your attitude and personality is what you say to yourself and believe. It is not what happens to you, but how you respond internally to what happens to you, that determines your thoughts and feelings and, ultimately, your actions. By controlling your inner dialogue, or “self-talk,” you can begin to assert control over every other dimension of your life.
Your self-talk—the words that you use to describe what is happening to you and to discuss how you feel about external events—determines the quality and tone of your emotional life. When you see things positively and constructively, and look for the good in each situation and each person, you have a tendency to remain positive and optimistic. Since the quality of your life is determined by how you feel from moment to moment, one of your most important goals should be to keep yourself thinking about what you want and to keep your mind off what you don’t want or what you fear.
There is a natural tendency to react emotionally when our expectations are frustrated. When something we wanted and hoped for fails to materialize, we feel a temporary sense of disappointment and unhappiness. The optimistic person, however, soon moves beyond this disappointment. He responds quickly to the adverse event and interprets it as being temporary, specific and external to himself. The optimist takes full control of his inner dialogue and counters the negative feelings by immediately reframing the event so that it appears positive in some way.
The hallmark of the fully mature, fully functioning, self-actualizing personality is the ability to be objective and unemotional when caught up in the inevitable storms of daily life. The superior person has the ability to continue talking to himself in a positive and optimistic way, keeping his mind calm, clear and completely under control. As a result, the mature person exerts a far greater sense of control and influence over his environment, and is far less likely to be angry, upset or distracted.
The starting point in the process of becoming a highly effective person is to monitor and control your self-talk. Your conscious mind can hold only one thought at a time, either positive or negative. If you deliberately choose a positive thought to dwell on, you keep your mind optimistic and your emotions positive. Here are five ideas you can use to help you:
1. Resolve in advance that no matter what happens, you will not allow it to get you down. You will respond in a constructive way. You will take a deep breath, relax and look for whatever good the situation may contain. When you make this decision in advance, you mentally prepare yourself so that you are not knocked off balance when things go wrong, as they inevitably will.
2. Neutralize any negative thoughts or emotions by speaking to yourself positively all the time. Say things like, “I feel healthy!” “I feel happy!” “I feel terrific!” As you go about your job, say to yourself, “I like myself, and I love my work!” or “Today is a great day; it’s wonderful to be alive!” According to the law of expression, whatever is expressed is impressed. Whatever you say to yourself or others is impressed deeply into your subconscious mind and is likely to become a permanent part of your personality.
3. Look upon the inevitable setbacks that you face as being temporary, specific and external. View the negative situations as a single event that is not connected to other potential events and that is caused largely by external factors over which you can have little control. Simply refuse to see the event as being in any way permanent, pervasive or indicative of personal incompetence or inability.
4. Remember that it is impossible to learn, grow and become a successful person without adversity and difficulties. You must contend with and rise above them to become a better person. Welcome each difficulty by saying, “That’s good!” and then look into the situation to find the good in it.
5. Keep your thoughts on your goals and dreams, on the person you are working on becoming. When things go wrong temporarily, respond by saying to yourself, “I believe in the perfect outcome of every situation in my life.” Resolve to be cheerful and pleasant, and resist every temptation toward negativity and disappointment.
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Brian Tracy is a leader in the fields of management, leadership and sales. He has produced more than 300 audio/video programs and has written over 40 books, including The Power of Charm. To receive your free copy of Crunch Time!, visit www.briantracy.com and click on the Crunch Time! icon. Tracy can be reached at 858-481-2977 or www.briantracy.com.