Self Talk - How We Change The Way We Think
Self talk is the term used to describe the inner voices and scripts that run in the background of our minds and that have a frightening degree of control over what we think, say and do.
How Self Talk Changed The Way I Think
It comes as a frightening realisation when we first come to terms with the fact that, contrary to what we like to think, we are not really free agents.
In western culture especially, the celebration of individualism - a belief that is deeply embedded in our culture - deludes us into believing that we masters of our own destiny.
Many of us have been brought up by our parents and teachers to "think for ourselves" and we pride ourselves on our ability to exercise our "freedom of choice" and to express ourselves.
We're running on auto-pilot
In fact, we think very little for ourselves, well over 90% of the choices and decisions that we make are not "free choices" and most are not even conscious choices.
To a surprising degree the human brain runs on auto-pilot and follows pre-programmed paths and patterns.
Think of who you think you are - your ethnic identity, your cultural and religious beliefs, your class and social beliefs etc - none of these things were really a "free choice".
We are all very largely the product of the culture, religion, society, class and social group, and family groups in which we were raised.
...and the auto-pilot is a ghost
But it goes deeper than that, because so many of the thoughts, patterns, associations and beliefs that drive our behaviour, operate outside of our conscious awareness - they are invisible to us - and it is as though the auto-pilot is a ghost.
...a very illusive ghost
It is even more unsettling to discover, as I did a few years ago, that despite "doing lots of work on ourselves" and getting involved in personal development and self improvement activities, that there are often still deeply buried beliefs expressed in unconscious self talk that still have a significant influence over our choices.
Find the ghost by checking what you resist
The very best clue that you have some unhelpful and unresourceful self-talk going on inside your head but outside your conscious awareness is to look closely at your resistance to things.
In the course of undertaking another "goal setting" process some years ago, I was amazed to discover a ghost in my machine (or brain). I discovered that I had a quite deep resistance to the idea of achieving financial success easily, and I had a deep resistance to the idea that anyone actually listens to me.
For an "old-hand" at personal development, this was a sobering realisation that despite literally years of active involvement in personal growth there were still deep seated areas of resistance in me that were whispering deeply corrosive and damaging self talk within me.
Change the voice and change your life
I discovered, that by changing the tracks that were playing in my head I removed the resistance, I performed much better and best of all - I felt better.