How to Talk to Yourself – David Marquet
David Marquet - Intent Based Leadership: Create Leaders at Every Level

How to Talk to Yourself

When talking with others the words we use matter a lot, and they matter when talking to ourselves as well.

Psychologist Ethan Kross has discovered that the manner in which people talk to themselves can have a significant impact on their success in life. We are all familiar with the “I think I can” engine from our childhood stories. Turns out, according to Kross, that using the pronoun “I” when talking to yourself can actually cause you to fluster and perform poorly in stressful situations. Shifting your self-talk and addressing yourself by your name, according to research, greatly improves your chances of maxing out your performance in various tasks from public speaking to self-advocacy.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 9.47.31 AMKross states that by changing the way we refer to ourselves, we toggle switches in two areas of our brains. First, we flip a switch in the center of thought, the cerebral cortex. Second, we flip a switch in the seat of fear, the amygdala. This “switching” moves us closer to or further from our sense of self and all the attached emotional intensity. This psychological distance enables self-control, allowing us to think clearly and act competently.

So the next time you talk to yourself, try using your name and not I.

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0 thoughts on “How to Talk to Yourself”

  1. Play-a-Round Golf

    Naming the person at fault instead of admitting the weakness is to deflect the potential shame and not deal with it directly. Referring to oneself by name sets up a scape goat in similar manner to “the Devil made me do it.” Brene Brown might offer a counter view. In her book, Daring Greatly, Mrs. Brown shares the results of many interviews which point to the importance of developing shame resiliency and that one of the first steps in the process is to “own our story” by speaking to ourselves in words like, “Yes, I thought incorrectly”, “Yes, I was late”, or even “I don’t know, but I think that I can…” By owning our story, we learn to understand that we are vulnerable to error and incapable of perfection…and that’s okay.

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