Much of our happiness and success is the result of our thinking. So, too, are our failures. And our thoughts are revealed in our self-talk. What you say to yourself during the course of the day largely determines the outcome. In theory, it's really pretty simple:
— Positive self-talk leads to success.
— Negative self-talk dooms you to failure.
Which one are you setting yourself up for?
Like an evil mist, negative thinking has an insidious way of weaving its wispy tendrils into our thoughts and words. Over time, it becomes a habit – so much so that you might not even notice it. But you can't help but notice the result: failure, time and time again. The solution is to develop new habits in your thinking.
Let's examine several ways to combat these negative thought processes and develop new, positive thoughts that will better serve you. When you're good at recognizing these flaws in your self-talk, you're 90% of the way there:
1. "I can be happy once I ..." It's a mistake to believe that you need to have or do anything before you can be happy. As soon as the criterion is met, another will simply take its place. It's great to strive for more, but to make your happiness dependent on such attainment will delay your happiness forever.
2. The success of other people makes you jealous or resentful. The flaw is thinking that only a limited number of people can experience success. Learn to admire others that are successful. Learn from their success and be happy for them. You can be successful, too.
3. "I can't do anything right" or "I'll never be successful." Mistakes are simply a learning method of how not to do something. Humans learn largely via "failure." The most successful people have failed far more times than the average person. The difference is that they discover how to pick themselves back up again so they can go on to succeed.
— Remind yourself of all the times you've succeeded at something in the past.
— For example, learning to talk and walk were difficult endeavors. Consider how many times you failed at both of them and yet you were successful in the end. What if you had the same level of perseverance for everything else in your life?
4. "Why do these things always happen to me?" Over the long haul, life is remarkably fair. Bad things happen, but they tend to pass and good things take their place. To believe that you are singled out for bad things is a critical error that can guide you toward more negative circumstances.
5. "I can't do this." It's difficult to do something that you believe you can't. In reality, you can do nearly anything, given enough time and effort. Can you improve a little bit today? Of course you can, and you can keep improving each day. How could you not be able to do something if you never give up?
6. "I'll do it tomorrow (or next week)." We often let ourselves off the hook by putting things off into the future. Successful people are great at doing what needs to be done. They simply do the things others don't have the nerve to do. Be brave and claim your success today — not someday.
7. Any other negative self-talk. There's a simple way to know if your thinking is on track. You should be happy, motivated and enthusiastic to attack your goals. If you don't feel this way, then you have negative thoughts in your head. Find and resolve these thoughts.
Monitor yourself continuously for negative thought patterns. When they occur, intentionally turn the thought around into something positive.
Most of your negative thoughts have little reality supporting them – they merely have the power of repetition on their side. You can override that with repetition of new, positive thoughts.
You have the power to transform your life. Imagine what you could do if you banished all negative thoughts from your mind. Nurture yourself with positive self-talk and enjoy the success you deserve!
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