“What to Say When You Talk to Yourself”

When I first saw the above-mentioned title of a book about “powerful new techniques to program your potential for success,” I have to admit that I was a bit of a skeptic.

The book was written by Shad Helmstetter, an acclaimed psychologist, who champions the idea that you can improve your outlook, focus your plans, and stay on top, in touch and going for your dreams and any other life aspirations, simply by reprogramming your thoughts.

His strategy is simple: adopt techniques of what he calls “self-talk” and understand that certain phrases hold the power to unlock your potential.

According to his book, those power-yielding phrases are:

  • “I choose my thoughts. No thought, at any time, can dwell in my mind without my permission.”
  • “I have talent, skills and abilities — and I’m discovering new talents all the time.”
  • “I take time to listen and communicate. I’m patient and understanding. It’s worth working at, and I do.”
  • “I focus my attention on the things I can control. If I can’t affect it or direct it — I accept it.”
  • “I know that what I believe about myself is what I will become — so I believe in the best for myself.”
Courtesy of Dreamstime

Courtesy of Dreamstime

After reading the book, I realized that a success and empowerment strategy that incorporates “positive thinking” isn’t so cooky after all. As a matter of fact, it makes perfect sense — all of our dreams, career aspirations and outward actions start to take root through that little voice in your head telling you either to go for it or hold off.

Then I thought: if our thoughts can propel us into the career of our dreams and eventual success, then why aren’t we as selective in deciding which of those thoughts we will embrace and which ones we’ll discard?

It’s time to be selective people! It’s time to start getting really picky on which thoughts dwell in your mind.

Ask yourself whether your thoughts are overall positive, uplifting and encouraging. Or are you constantly giving yourself the thumbs-down, waddling in past failures or living in fear?

While it’s important to note that we all get hit with some discouraging times, and poor self-esteem and bad thinking is inevitable; it’s even more imperative to remember that we have a CHOICE to either embrace discouraging thoughts or replace them with a more positive outlook.

Keep the Discussion Going

In the upcoming week (and beyond), my charge to you is to start replacing negative thinking with positive thoughts. When you look in the mirror and think you’re fat, replace that thought with “at least I’m able to breathe and get up in the morning. Plus, I will improve my health.”

When you feel you’re in a dead end job with opportunities lacking elsewhere, tell yourself that simply having is a job is the greatest accomplishment when millions are without one.

When you miss the mark on an assignment at work, give yourself a break by telling yourself that at least you made your best effort (considering that you did) and ensure yourself that you’ll give it a go once again and do much better the second time-around.

We have thousands of opportunities a day to turn around our thoughts, and offer ourselves the encouragement we so desperately need. So the next time you talk to yourself, pay careful attention to what you say.

About the Author

Emily Brown is the key contributor and creator of  TheCareerPioneer.com, a blog that delivers articles and posts about job industry trends; plus motivational, retrospective stories about career exploration and discovering one’s passion. A former business journalist at Bloomberg News, her work has also appeared in  The Wall Street Journal,  The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and others. Emily lives and works in Washington, DC. She can easily be reached at info@thecareerpioneer.com. Feel free to drop her a line to say “hello,” seek advice, suggest an opportunity or story idea, or provide news of your own.



  • http://carolinehagood.typepad.com/ Caroline Hagood

    I really enjoyed reading this. I agree with you and Helmstetter on the whole positive thinking thing. It may irritate some people, but it will get you through the professional and creative lows.

    • http://www.thecareerpioneer.com Emily Brown

      Thanks for stopping by Caroline and for reading! And I totally agree with you.