In yesterday’s challenge post I talked about hearing that little voice in your head that tells you that you don’t need to do this, shouldn't have to do this, or can’t do this anyway so why even try. These are examples of negative thinking and negative self-talk. While we are still working on improving our self-confidence and courage, it’s not uncommon to have quite a bit of this negative thinking going on.
It’s an internal protection mechanism of sorts. When we are lacking confidence, we aren’t actually sure we can do what we set out to do. Our mind then tries to protect us by talking us out of giving it a try. After all, if you don’t try, you can’t fail, right? At least that’s how our confidence-lacking subconscious thinks.
On a rational level, we know never trying is just as bad as or even worse than trying and failing. When we try and fail, we always learn something. Taking risks is part of a happy, productive life and it’s what builds courage and confidence.
Now that we know why we think these negative thoughts and try to talk ourselves out of the things we actually want to do, let’s go over some strategies for silencing these voices. Before we do that, I want to tell you that as your courage and self-confidence starts to increase, those voices will start to fade away on their own. In other words, this isn’t something you’ll have to battle or work on throughout your life. Sure, negative self-talk and negative thinking will pop up here and there, but overall it won’t be a struggle in the long run.
The first step is to simply acknowledge it’s there and it isn’t something that’s helpful or productive. I want you to realize it’s ok to simply ignore that little voice in the back of your head when it’s warning you of failure and trying to talk you into not even trying. While there are certainly times when that same voice serves a good purpose (like talking you out of jumping from a bridge), it doesn’t benefit you when it tries to talk you out of going for run in the morning.
Another good strategy is to prepare counter arguments. You know the voice in your head isn’t completely rational and helpful. Focus instead on everything you have to gain from doing it anyway, or look at all the times you’ve succeeded in the past.
The most important lesson I want you to take away from today’s post is that this negative thinking and self-talk will happen and it’s something you need to look out for. Once you know what it is, it’s much easier to dismiss it and get to work.