YOUR SELF-TALK IS YOUR SELF-IMAGE !
Some years ago an article in Reader’s Digest told of an experiment conducted with a class of high school basketball players. These young men with similar skills were divided into three separate groups.
Group One was told not to practice shooting free throws in the gym for a month.
Group Two was told to practice shooting free throws in the gym for an hour every afternoon for a month.
Group Three was told to practice shooting free throws in their imaginations for an hour every afternoon for a month.
At the end of the month, the players were tested for their performance.
As expected, Group One’s free-throw average fell. Group Two increased its average by about two percentage points.
Group Three also increased its average by the same percentage as Group Two.
In your imagination, you never miss—that is, unless you want to or unless you’re in the habit of negative self-imaging.
Negative self-talk can follow a success or a failure.
For example, when you close a sale or turn in a report on time, your negative self-talk afterwards might be, “That was a lucky one,” or “I sure hope I don’t miss the deadline next time.”
On the other hand, if you lose a sale or make a mistake or deliver an assignment late,
Negative self-talk might be,
“There I go again.
I’ll never get it right.”
Self-talk disintegrates into
“I knew I couldn’t do it,”
“This always happens to me,”
“Why do I even try?”
Just as important as your self-imaging before a task,
your self-talk immediately after confirms your self-image or knocks it down.
But, after a mistake or failure, the person who has learned the principle of positive self-talk will say, “That’s not like me,” “Next time I’ll take a different approach,” “I’ll get up and do it again, but this time prepare more effectively.”
In a way, learning how to succeed in spite of failure is like learning how to walk.
The effort results in a number of falls, bumps, near misses, and landing on your rear end. The difference is that the child does not associate falling with failure, but only as a temporary inconvenience. The child’s next thought is to get up and try it again.
The same should be with us. We set a goal in our minds, we try, we fall, we see the goal again, perhaps with renewed vigor or from a different angle, our self-talk reinforces the desire to succeed, and ultimately we do. This experience is then stored in our inner video cassettes to replay when we next need to.
Be doers of the word,
not the hearers only!!