Updated: Mar 12, 2021
How successful Sportspeople and Artists
When I am behind in a game, I tell myself to relax. I tell myself that it is not the end of the world … that things at this point cannot get worse… it can only get better from here, it gets better from here. — Serena Williams
Our Inner voice alias Self-Talk is the conscious interpreter of our emotions. While our emotions drive our actions in critical life situations, it is our Self-Talk that helps us make sense of what is going on. In any situation, our Self-Talk is what we use to understand what we are feeling and why we are feeling it. In Psychology, this concept is explained via the “first thought — second thought” concept.
First Thought — Second Thought
Let’s say you are walking on a street and you unexpectedly bump into an old friend. You feel excited to see him after a long time. This is called the first thought. Now, if you are aware a bit, you will realize that you have thoughts about this incident almost immediately. You might think “how did this guy come here”. Or “how long it has been since I met this person”.
These are some examples of the second thought. While the first thought is your Emotion — your immediate feeling on encountering a friend, your second thought is your Self-Talk.
While it is difficult to control our emotions— it is possible to control how we interpret our emotions and thereby control our actions.
Let’s say you are working on a highly critical project. There’s been a lot of pressure on you — you have been working long hours, your team is depending on you to be at your best and deliver. Now it’s 8 pm on a Monday. You are about to leave and your boss calls in. He says that a critical part of your product has failed and you need to fix it in the next 1 hour. How do you react? Would you let the exhaustion get the better of you? Do you focus on what will happen if you are unable to get the job done? Or do you focus on the best way to solve the problem? Or do you ask for help from your boss to help solve the problem?
Self-Talk is a language-based indicator of our mind
How we act in a situation depends on how evolved our Self-Talk is. The good news is that we can actively train this aspect of our minds. In fact, high-performing Sportspeople, CEOs, and artists have specific Self-Talk strategies that help them excel — especially in difficult life situations.
Another example of high-impact Self-Talk comes from the famous American Drag Queen and TV personality RuPaul. Owning the room and getting the audience’s attention is key to RuPaul’s success as a Drag Queen. But this success is not incidental! While talking about the secret to his success, RuPaul says that when he walks into a room, he BELIEVES that every person is looking at him with an abundance of love — like how a mother looks at her child.
“During practice, I keep telling myself that I am in my mother’s living room, putting up a show for her and SHE never JUDGES”
The interesting thing here is that many of these Self-Talk strategies can be help anyone in everyday life situations to break our mental barriers. At Konvos, we build such high-performance Self-Talk routines to practice effective Self-Talk.