Psychological tips for managers:
Self-talk and your personal belief system
Your most important conversations are those you conduct yourself.
Self-talk governs your emotional state, which in turn affects your
mental and physical well-being.
What is self-talk?
Self-talk can be most simply defined as what you say or think to
yourself, either silently or aloud. Silent self-talk is commonly
referred to as your thoughts, but it's actually a silent conversation
that you hold in the privacy of your mind.
You are thinking all the time, day and night, 24 hours a day. In
fact, psychologists estimate that the average person has 20,000-60,000
thoughts per day. Every thought either moves you towards your goals and
the person you hope to become, or it moves you away. No thoughts are
neutral. Every thought counts.
Unfortunately, approximately 90 percent of your thoughts today are
repeats from yesterday and the thoughts you have today are repeats from
yesterday and the day before, and the day preceding that.
You are constantly redefining yourself and your future with
every thought of your mind. You are constantly talking to
yourself and this inner dialogue should be managed properly and
directed towards your own success, victory achievements and
This is the primary reason why effecting permanent, positive
improvement in your life tends to be such an uphill challenge.
The human mind loves the status quo and, if not trained otherwise, it
will feed you a constant repetition of old ideas. Those old thoughts,
like and automatic pilot, will keep steering your life in the same
direction it has always gone.
Among the most powerful influence on your character, personality, and
attitude is what you say to yourself and what you belief. Every single
moment of every day, you are either talking yourself into or out of
You are constantly redefining and reinventing yourself and your
future with every thought on your mind. It's a scientific fact that your
thoughts race through your mind. It's a scientific fact that you are
constantly talking to yourself, and this inner dialogue, or self-talk
can and must be controlled if you are to maximize your potential.
You must make the shift from reactive thinking to proactive thinking.
You must stop working for your mind and instead, enlist your mind to
work for you. Remember, your self-talk tends to work against you unless
you are aware of it.
Use it for your own goals and ambitions. A belief is a collection of
subconscious thoughts which represent what you consider to be the
absolute truth about any given situation or condition in your life. It's
a feeling of absolute certainty.
Your beliefs are literally hardwired, primarily through repetition,
into neural pathways within your brain. Incoming data from your senses
travels along these pathways on its way to interpretation in the brain.
You must feed your mind like you feed your healthy body. You eat
wholesome food to have a thought to have a healthy mental outlook on
life and work.
Try to apply the following exercise to eliminate negative self-talk.
* The first step is to determine the number of negative statements
you make to yourself during a day. Place two jars in your workspace -
one filled with coins, the other empty. Every time you have a negative
thought, transfer a coin into the empty jar. At the end of the day count
the coins - are there more coins in the negative - thought jar than in
the other one?
* The next day list 28 negative things that you think about yourself
- for example, "I'm not good with computers." Take 28 index cards (one
for each day of the next four weeks) and on each card write a positive
version response to it - for example, "I can take a computing course if
I want to."
* At the start of each day take one card and put it where you will
see it often. Whenever you see your card, read it to yourself five
* At the end of the four-week period, repeat the first step. This
time there should be fewer coins in your negative - thought jar.
Your are changing
At this very moment you are changing! Nobody stays the same for any
length of time. You are continually and constantly changing in the
specific direction that your thoughts and goals lead you.
You are what you are and where you are because of the dominating
thoughts you have allowed to occupy your mind.
'I handled that badly' 'I forgot what to say again'
'I need to handle things betternext time.
'In future I need to remember to say...'
Get rid of excuses
Many people hold themselves back by making unjustifiable and largely
untrue excuses to themselves. Such as
* 'I can't
* 'I am unable to because...'
* 'I haven't had the right education'
* 'I am not assertive enough'
* 'I suffer from poor health'
* 'I am not lucky'
* 'I am never in the right place at the right time'
* 'I did not go to the right schools'
* 'It is my family background'
* 'I was born under the wrong birth sign'
Anybody can find an excuse for almost anything. In building
confidence, never, make an excuse. Excuses do hold people back from goal
Try to eradicate from your thinking and speaking vocabulary like "I
can't" and "I am not" and replace them with, "I can" and "I am".
Remember, your brain is a storage area - what you put in, you will be
able to get them back. Replace the negative insertions with the
Instead of Consider: I have a problem, Here's an opportunity to, If I
can meet this challenge.
Instead of Consider: I am not good at, I am getting better at, I am
learning to, I have discovered that.
Instead of Consider: I failed to, Here is what I learned from, The
lesson on that project is, I realized that, I discovered it is not.
* It is impossible.
* It is very difficult to cope.
* I will probably spend the holidays and weekends in the office.
* It is too much. I am expected to take on everybody's....
* I have to handle left over jobs.
* I will manage.
* Let me phone the office and ask if an alternate arrangement can be
* I can keep my other appointments anyway.
* I will call Mr. X and tell him my position and apologise.
* Such things can happen to anyone at times.
Self-talk will lead to personal belief system
The total accumulation of data involving everything that has ever
happened to you in your life is referred to as your personal belief
system. It serves as your frame of reference as you continue to
experience new things in life and work and represents the total
"Programming" of your mind.
When a mahout takes over a baby elephant, he first chains it by a
hind leg to a stake. The baby, of course, tries to break free, but it
can't until the mahout comes and releases it. After a while, it believes
that if cannot get free unless the mahout releases it, and soon, it does
not even try.
When this baby grows into an adult elephant. It still retains the
same belief and that is why even a huge and powerful elephant can safely
be tied to a weak stake with a light chain. If it actually tried, it
could get free in one wrench. But it does not believe it can and doesn't
A number of our beliefs operate in a similar manner. They are
acquired when the circumstances were appropriate, but they tend to
persist even after circumstances change, and what is more, we tend to
evaluate new circumstances in the light of the old belief.
Beliefs shape our actions
Beliefs shape our actions. They make the rules and boundaries within
which we operate. Once beliefs are formed. It is not only difficult to
change them. It is also difficult to recognize them as beliefs.
We begin to think we just know about something - I just know I will
fail, I just know I will lose, or more positively, I just know I will
win. These gut feelings are actually our acquired beliefs.
Beliefs can be about anything and the most important beliefs are our
self-beliefs: what we believe to be true about ourselves and our
When faced with any situation, project or responsibility, we do a
quick summing up in our minds about our abilities and what is required
to handle the situation. The end result of this summing up is the belief
(or lack of it) that we can handle the situation.
Our self-beliefs can be extremely stubborn and the mind tends to
rationalize outcomes in keeping with the beliefs we hold. For instance,
if you belief in your ability to do a certain task successfully and you
fail, the mind rationalizes that we failed because of someone else's
mistakes or uncertain, market conditions or lack of support.
On the other hand, if you believe that you can't do a certain task
successfully and yet succeed at it. While you may be pleasantly
surprised at the outcome, you will soon start attributing the success to
luck or chance or another's help. A belief once formed is always
stronger and whatever happens after. Is interpreted in the light of that
This tendency to believe out beliefs has important implications.
Obviously, there is no harm done if our beliefs are positive. But if
they are negative, they can hold us back throughout out it.
If for some reason a person believes that he cannot make money or
that he can't get a promotion, or cannot draw or play a musical
instrument, that belief will hold true for him throughout his life
unless he actively takes steps to question it.