Have you ever noticed how wise you are when you give advice to a person younger than you? You aren’t fooling yourself. You really have gained some wisdom over the years. Have you ever wished you could be that wise when you had troubles? You can. You can talk to yourself like a “Dutch uncle.”
Randall Masciana, M.S., tried to find out what kind of mental strategy would improve a person’s performance when throwing darts. Masciana had the participants try everything from mental imagery to Zen. What worked best for improving the dart thrower’s ability to hit the target was “positive self-talk.”
Simply talking to yourself in a confident, reassuring, positive, friendly way makes a difference. It may be trite. It may be old. But it works, and it works better than anything else.
When things get tough, keep your thoughts prominent. Turn up the volume of your inner voice so you can hear it clearly and coach yourself. If you don’t know what to say, imagine a friend of yours or your little brother in the same situation and say to yourself what you would say to them.
Another way of knowing what to say to yourself is to ask yourself what someone you admire would say to you: Abraham Lincoln, a professor, your grandmother — whomever you admire for her or his wisdom and strength of character. Imagine asking the person for advice and imagine what s/he might say to you.
You know more about your own situation than anyone else, so your advice to yourself is in some ways more useful than anyone else’s. You are wise. If you would only talk to yourself and listen, your life would be better.
This article was excerpted from the book, Principles For Personal Growth by Adam Khan. Buy it now here.