Managing Your Self-Talk


I am hearing voices…!!!     Do you hear the voices? 

These phrases have often been heard in movies or sitcoms on TV, indicating that peoples’ sanity levels are in question. No I am perfectly sane!!! I promise you….or at least…. I think I am…or am I…??   Only joking, but in fact, we are all hearing “voices” every minute of everyday. 

Are you even aware that you are constantly talking to yourself? 

Think about it – whenever you speak to someone, read something, listen to the radio, watch a programme on television, you are constantly talking to yourself… your mind analysis what you think of the experience you’re having..This often happens at such an incredibly fast rate, that you are probably not even aware of it. 

Often we subconsciously have so many “voices” at the same time, that our brains become a beehive of activity, a 10-lane highway. 

The overall tendency of the conscious thoughts tends to steer us in certain directions…positive, optimistic, energetic, self-assured, confident or hesitant, pessimistic, gloomy, distrustful, doubtful, etc… 

It has often been documented that your thoughts influence your emotions, which influence your actions, results and ultimately your life. Many authors have gone further stating that you have within your grasp, the power to influence your thinking. Some of these influencing techniques include affirmations, visualisation of your desired outcomes, goal setting, etc. Most of this points back to the importance self-talk.  The adage of “Garbage in Garbage out” comes to mind.

 The best practical example for me to prove that thinking really influences results is when I think of golf. How often have I not said to myself…”I’m going to miss this put”…and guess what happens? The reverse is of course also true. I can think of numerous other examples related to other aspects of my life that have similar results. 

Now, there is no way possible that you can ‘control’ all the thinking in your mind, the biggest majority of thought will occur subconsciously and most of these serve us very well in order to keep us alive (E.g. monitoring our physical organs, blood flow, heart rate, etc). 

But have you ever considered how important it is to the results in your life, that you pro-actively monitor and manage the kind of self-talk that you are aware if? 

What you focus on grows…in your mind, in your emotions, in your actions. So if I have the power to choose what to focus on, why don’t I choose to focus on what’s good for me? 

This is probably where the daily personal discipline comes in. I have recently read of a concept called the hour of power. Basically I start every day by getting-up earlier in the morning and focus on getting my self-talk started in the right direction. I spend 20 minutes with God, 20 minutes reading something inspirational or motivational and 20 minutes reading through my goals and dreams and thinking of ways to make them a reality. What you focus on grows. 

This practice has helped me get in the right mindset early every day and has served as a foundation for my day – how ever turbulent it turns out to be. 

At the end of each day, I try to revisit my day, by thinking of where I’ve not managed my self-talk in the best way and I try to think how I will improve on that, the next time around. I have found that keeping a journal and physically putting my thoughts around my experiences in words, also assists me in clarifying my experiences. 

I would be incredibly interested to hear how you manage your self-talk. Please give me your thoughts, since this is still the beginning of a journey for me and I’m very interested to hear your views!

“The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.” – Confucius

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~ by Danie van den Berg on 31/03/2010.

4 Responses to “Managing Your Self-Talk”

  1. Experience counts a lot. Its nice to know the theory, but having experience will make you react more assured knowing that you are doing the right thing.
    When I have something important to say or tell someone, I play out the conversation in my head with all the different combinations of what might happen or be asked to me. That gives me the edge of I already had the conversation. Unfortunately you must have the time to play out the stuff you want to do and you might miss something in you rehearsal, but that’s life.

  2. Indeed we talk to ourselves. The trick is in the practice; how and what one thinks is influenced by various aspects.
    I am currently doing well with the discipline on effective listening. It takes a lot to clear ones thoughts, focus on what is said and carefully consider one’s response without straying thoughts about what isn’t the focal point of the discussion.
    What a wonderful world it is when one thinks faster than one reacts to what is said, especially over what could cause an argument/conflict. Unfortunately, the time one takes to think may tend to annoy the second party especially when they are picking a fight. However, it helps to cool them off and enduce rational thinking.

  3. So nice to realize, people have the same difficulties, challenges and habits. It lets one feels “normal”. For me to keep life positive and worth living I need to check my self-talk – and I especially need the right kind of input (audio’s/books/etc) to get that done. Reading the right books are not an optional luxury in my life, is a MUST to help me behave as a contributional human being. Thanks for the thoughts – it helps!!!

  4. A quiet moment to play out the conversation in your head beforehand, makes it easier to clearly articulate your intentions. I sometimes imagine that I am standing in front of an audience, and I have to make sure that they all understand what I want to say. I pretend that someone asks a difficult question and then test myself to see if I can give a coherent, clear and simple reply.
    Effective listening is a great discipline, Tshepo, and worth pursuing. It is surprising what you can learn from focussing on each word another person is saying. The best compliment to another person is to give them your full attention when they are talking to you, without interruption, criticism or judgement. I call this compassionate listening.

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