You are most likely speaking silently to yourself every time you are not speaking out loud to another person or reading someone else’s words. Now, This type of “self-talk” goes on all day long, usually as unmonitored chatter. If you start paying attention to your inner commentary, you might find that it is talking you out of the things you want. The quality of your self-talk could even be affecting your bank balance.
If you discover an opportunity that aligns with your goals, but then your self-talk tells you, “You’ll never be able to do that,” it is unlikely that you will pursue that opportunity. That little voice in your head might not even be your own voice. It could be echoes of other people’s voices over the years—such as your parents, siblings, teachers, or bosses—that you’ve internalized as part of your identity.
Familiar Words Work Best
Psychologists have found that people tend to cling to and expand on words and thoughts that are familiar. For example, in the 1970s, the research experiments of David McClelland, an expert in motivation, revealed that when his subjects were flashed two sets of words, one positive—such as “success” and “profit”—and the other negative—such as “failure” and “loss”—the participants who ranked high in need for achievement recognized the positive words significantly faster than those with low need for achievement. And, as you might expect, those who ranked low in need for achievement recognized the negative words faster.
Improve Your Self-Talk
Simply changing your self-talk from “I can’t” to “I can” inspires hope. Changing “That’s impossible” to “Well, that could happen” instantly opens your mind to accepting new options. Changing self-criticism and blame to self-praise and acceptance breaks down barriers between you and your goals. Even changing the word “but” to “and” will expand your perceptions.
Emblazon your mind with words that are conducive to wealth—such as “success,” “confidence,” “achievement,” “winner,” and “action”—until they become familiar to you. If your self-talk tries to cancel your positive thoughts with negative ones, visualize pressing the “Delete” or “Skip” button on that counterproductive audio. In the same way that you create playlists for music, create playlists for your daily self-talk. You’re in control of what gets stored in your memory for playback later.