Ravi Raman’s Living The Dream post is a great example of the power language has on our thinking. What he outlines is very similar to the technique’s taught and encouraged by GoodLife Fitness clubs with their sales staff; before we went to meet any prospect, we would use some form of self-talk to get ourselves in peak attitude in order to authentically embody the “Good Life” that physical fitness affords everyone who chooses it. While GoodLife’s approach comes down to good business – people buy from happy people so I closed more sales than those who were not happy – it also improved my overall level of happiness.
Ravi touches on this as well, citing an improvement in his mood when he responds in a happy way to others. In my experience it is a universal truth that negative self-talk will lower ones mood and when someone is depressed their self-talk is always negative and defeatist.
When you’re depressed it is very hard to see anything as positive. One of the best exercises I have found for improving this is to write out reasons why you should be happy or reasons why some of what you are saying to yourself is inaccurate. It doesn’t have to be very much, just enough to plant a seed of doubt about the accuracy of the negative self-talk to mitigate your response to it. For example, when I say that things are never going to be any different from how they are now, I’m quickly able to see the word “never” as an over generalization. Once I realize that things are not always going to be the same, I’m able to start to believe that there are other alternatives to the situation and I am free to work on achieving one of them as opposed to remaining victim to my perception of an unchanging world.
The first couple of times I tried this exercise I was amazed at just how gullible I was when it came to believing self-talk. Frankly, I believed everything my internal voice said without questioning it until I learned that I CAN question it. The power of this lesson is the realization that it works the opposite way too – you believe the positive stuff as strongly as the negative and you will continue to believe it so long as you continue to create it. The only thing you need to do to create it is to make the choice to be happy.
So when you go to work or do anything that isn’t 100% your passion, make sure you remained yourself that you are living the dream and make it the truth by saying it.