Henry Ford once famously said “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right”. In other words, it is not so much how able or clever we are that will determine whether we get to where we want to be: it is our self-belief. All of us have an internal dialogue, these are our thoughts, and our thoughts will always be governed by our beliefs. We all have little conversations with ourselves inside our heads.
Is the following internal dialogue familiar? ‘I know I’m just not going to get things done today because the phone’s going to be ringing, and I know things are going to go wrong on this assignment because I always forget something, that’s me’.
If you have to do a big presentation, what does your inner voice start saying to you?…….. ‘I know I’ll trip over the flip chart’…….I’ll lose my place in my notes and look really foolish…… no-one will be at all interested in what I’ve got to say’.
We all have that little inner voice that supplies us with negative information. That little voice can do a lot of damage, because of self fulfilling prophecy. The more we convince ourselves of something, we are immediately more likely to ensure that is exactly what will happen. We then get in a vicious circle because when it does happen, that further confirms what we thought in the first place.
What you must do is to change your inner dialogue. Each time you think something that is negative, you must replace it with a positive thought.
VISUALISE A POSITIVE RESULT
When we hold certain beliefs about ourselves, we then start to anticipate outcomes. We invariably tend to mentally rehearse these events in our minds eye. It is highly likely that whenever you envisage anything in glorious Technicolor in your imagination you are imagining NEGATIVE outcomes.
Well, what about mentally rehearsing things in a positive way? Something that is used extensively in sports psychology is Cognitive Enactment or Visual Motor Behavioural Rehearsal. This is the visual rehearsal of events in your imagination. Your Imagination is stronger than your will, and your brain cannot actually tell the difference between something that is real and something that you vividly and repeatedly imagine. Your brain accepts and reacts automatically to the information it receives in the form of pictures, sounds or feelings. So when you visualise a negative outcome, your subconscious mind will start driving you towards it.
AVOID COMPARISONS WITH OTHERS
Emulate success, don’t bemoan the fact that you’ll never be as good as someone else. You’re always going to find people that are better than you at something. Don’t compare yourself to others, feel bad about it and think I wish I could be like that.
The most effective way to look at other people and how they work is to think, is there any method they use that works really well that I could use myself? Comparing yourself with other people is a waste of time. Emulating some of the things successful people do is a wise investment.
DO NOT ACCEPT PUT DOWNS FROM OTHER PEOPLE
Our level of self-efficacy is very susceptible to the opinions of others. At school Albert Einstein was labelled ‘mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in foolish dreams’. Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was ‘Too stupid to learn anything’. Sigmund Freud was booed from the podium when he first presented his ideas to the scientific community of Europe. Thank goodness those individuals had high self-efficacy and didn’t give up!!
Never allow other people to make you feel bad. If they attempt to put you down with negative or critical feedback refuse to accept it. You should only ever listen to those people who provide you with constructive feedback that is aimed at helping you to develop and learn. Never listen to those who want to criticise and belittle you.