I firmly believe that mindset – that is, the way you think about things and the beliefs you hold – are a bigger determiner of having a successful life than all the knowledge and skill in the world.
Your thinking is the number one factor that determines the way you experience your life.
So it makes sense that if you change your thinking, you will invariably change the quality of your life. You, and you alone are responsible for your thinking.
But where do you start? How do you change your mind?
The first place to look is your self-talk. Self-talk is the inner dialogue you have with yourself.
Everyone has that voice. Think of it as an “inner observer” that watches everything you do and carries on a running commentary about it.
That inner voice can take on lots of attitudes and personae. Perhaps it is an encouraging wise Mentor who is the voice of optimism.
What, you mean you don’t have an inner Yoda? LOL Well don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Many of us have instead experienced that voice as a relentless Critic. And often an incredibly vicious one at that.
The Critic can make anything worse. It can take a small challenge and by listing all the things that could go wrong, turn it into a major problem – all in your mind.
“This is a catastrophe! You will end up broke and destitute! You will be alone, unwanted and unloved. You are such a loser for getting yourself into this situation. You always do things like this. You are completely hopeless!”
To change your attitude, and subsequently your experience of life, you must change your inner dialogue. And to do that, you must catch your Critic in the act. You must pay attention to yourself as a detached observer and listen closely for distortions and exaggerations.
When you get into emotional distress about a situation, don’t immediately “buy into it”. Instead, stop and ask yourself “What have I been thinking? What am I telling myself about this situation?”
Then – and this really is the key – you get to decide whether what you are telling yourself is helpful or destructive. And then you can tell your inner Critic, “thank you for sharing, now shut up” and choose to change your mind and approach the situation in another, more productive and positive way.