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How to Self-Talk Your Way Out of a Tough Spot

How to Self-Talk Your Way Out of a Tough Spot

    What is the one least-tapped resource in the world today? The power of thought. You can radically change the world around you, that is, every aspect of your life, by paying attention to your thoughts and tapping into the power within them.

    Part of being aware of your thoughts include paying attention to how you are talking to yourself.

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    Sound hard? Not at all. Here are five ways to self-talk your way out of a tough spot.

    1. Change your overall tune.

    Chances are, you got into whatever type of “tough spot” you’re in (financial, emotional, life situation, etc) by singing the song that life is hard. It isn’t. It doesn’t have to be. That “life is hard” song is like a top hit from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, and even though it’s completely lost its popularity, you keep listening to it. Life absolutely does not have to be hard, and if it is, it is only that way because you have been telling yourself that it is.

    How to do it:

    Start every day on a new tune by telling yourself something new – tell yourself that things are always improving. We have collectively found so many solutions to our problems, a solution for your particular problem is just around the corner, just minutes away from being found. Life is getting better! Life is easy when you’re in the flow. Tell yourself it simply doesn’t have to be hard.

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    2. Learn how to cheer yourself up.

    You must not rely on anyone or anything else to cheer you up, because that person or thing will never be as consistent as you can be for yourself, once you know how.

    How to do it:

    Imagine that you have a personal cheer leading team, or a way-to-go aunt or uncle who always cheers you on. What would this person say to you? Even if it sounds ridiculous – like a squad of teenagers shouting “One! Two! Three! Four! Who’s the best one out the door! You are!!” – if it makes you giggle to yourself or smile inside, then do it. Connect with this “positivity team” in your imagination at the start of every day, and whenever you can throughout your day to boost your mood.

    3. Start out general.

    When you are really in the thick of those tough things, don’t try to affirm your way out with specifics. When you talk to yourself, go general in order to turn from negativity to positivity.

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    How to do it:

    Look at the core of the area of life where your problem exists – relationships, health, financial, or personal – and go as general and as positive as possible. For a health problem, you might try: “hey, six feet above ground is better than below!” For a relationship problem: “I have lots of friends and all sorts of people like to be with me.” For a financial problem: “Things really are going to turn around any day. The good thing about being at the bottom is that the only way out is up!” For business trouble: “All the big successful people and companies went through tough times before making it big…” Use whatever general, optimistic thoughts you can find to tell yourself.

    4. Trick yourself.

    Let’s face it, we do this all the time anyway, so we might as well harness this ability for our good. Rather than slanting things to the negative, make a conscious effort to slant them to the positive and trick yourself into thinking things are better than they may actually be right now. Your life will improve to match your “tricked” version of reality.

    How to do it:

    Whenever you are feeling down, ask yourself what thoughts you have been thinking for the last few minutes. Take any negative aspects of those thoughts and focus on the positive equivalent. You can always decide to be happy, in whatever situation you find yourself.

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    5. Do Something Fun.

    Okay, so this is more than talk, but it can often be the best mood-lifter and doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. We often “punish ourselves” (for all sorts of things) by not allowing ourselves to have or do that one little pleasure that we enjoy so much.

    How to do it:

    Let yourself have that reward now, even though you may not have quite reached whatever goal you had set. Stop holding yourself away from fun as a punishment! Go and do something you really love – that you can really lose yourself in – and don’t regret it for a second.

    Use all five tips above and watch your life swing around!

    (Photo credit: Young Man with a Mirror via Shutterstock)

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    Teresa Griffith

    Teresa is a passionate writer who shares about productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on October 14, 2020

    The Art of Humble Confidence

    The Art of Humble Confidence

    To be confident or not to be confident, that is the question. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve been a bit confused about all this discussion about the subject of confidence. Do you really need to be more confident or should you try to be more humble? I think the answer is both – you just have to know where to use it.

    East VS West – Confidence, It’s a Cultural Thing

    In typical Western countries, the answer to the confidence debate is obvious – more is better. Our heros are rebellious, independent and shoot first, ask questions later. I think this snippet of dialog from The Matrix sums it up best:

    Agent Smith – “We’re willing to wipe the slate clean, give you a fresh start. All that we’re asking in return is your cooperation in bringing a known terrorist to justice.”
    Neo – “Yeah. Well, that sounds like a pretty good deal. But I think I may have a better one. How about, I give you the finger”
    [He does]
    Neo -“ …and you give me my phone call.”

    In Eastern countries, the tone is often considerably different. Elders are supposed to be revered not dismissed. The words ‘guru,’ meaning a teacher, and the philosophy of dharma, loosely translated to mean ‘duty,’ come from here. In Eastern cultures humility and respect are more important than confidence.

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    These perspectives are generalizations, but it shows how the confidence debate goes back deep into our culture. I think that both extremes of pure confidence or pure humility are misguided. Instead of rectifying this situation by simply blending the two: becoming somewhat humble, somewhat confident all the time, I believe the answer is to know when to be confident and when to be humble.

    Humble Confidence – Know When to Use It

    I’m going to make another broad generalization. I believe that virtually every relationship you are going to have is going to fit into one of two major archetypes, either master or student. In peer relationships this master/student role may switch frequently, but it is extremely rare that the relationship never leans to one side.

    In the master role, you are displaying confidence to get what you want. This is public speaker, leader or seducer. Being the master has advantages. You have more control and ability to influence from this role.

    The student role is the opposite. You are intentionally displaying humility. This is the student, disciple or follower. Being the student has advantages too. You can learn a lot more in this role and are more likely to win the trust of the other person.

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    Know When to Shut Up and Learn

    If you are a typical Westerner, you are probably already thinking about which role you prefer. Being the leader is great. You get respect and a higher status. Most of all you get a greater degree of control.

    But the problem is that you can’t and shouldn’t always try to be the leader. Trying to assume that role without the skills, resources or status to back it up will lead to conflict. More importantly, there are many times when you purposely want to display humility. Some of the benefits to the student role include:

    • You learn more.
    • Smooths relationships.
    • Makes others more willing to lend a helping hand.

    Knowing when taking the humble route is to your advantage. It is far easier to get mentors and advisors if you use humility rather than arrogance. A small sacrifice to your ego can open up the potential to learn a lot.

    Confidence to Persuade, Humility to Learn

    In reality almost no relationship is as clearly defined as master/student. Within our connections, people have overlapping areas of expertise. I might be an expert in blogging to a non-blogger, but they might be an expert in finance. In each area there are different roles to take.

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    Before any interaction ask yourself what the purpose is. Are you trying to learn or persuade?

    Persuasion requires confidence. If you are trying to sell, instruct or lead you need to display the confidence to match your message. But learning requires humility. You won’t learn anything if you are constantly arguing with your professors, mentors or employers. Taking a dose of humility and temporarily making yourself a student gives you the opportunity to absorb.

    Persuade Less, Learn More

    Persuasion is great for immediate effect, but learning matters over the long-haul. Instead of washing over all your communication with pure confidence, look for opportunities to learn. Persuading someone to follow you may give you an immediate boost of satisfaction, but it doesn’t last. Learning, however, is an investment for the future.

    Whenever I make a connection with someone and realize they have a skill or understanding I want, I am careful to express humility in that area. That means listening with what they say even if I don’t immediately agree and being patient with their response. This method often drastically cuts down the time I need to spend on trial and error to learn by myself.

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    Confidence/Humility Doesn’t Replace Communication Skills

    This approach of selectively using confidence and humility for different purposes doesn’t replace communication skills. Humility isn’t going to work if the other person thinks you’re an irritating whiner. Confidence won’t work if the entire room thinks you are an arrogant jerk. Knowing how to display these two qualities takes practice.

    The next time you are about to enter into an interaction ask yourself why you are doing it. Are you trying to persuade or learn? Depending on which you can take a completely different tact for far better results.

    Featured photo credit: BBH Singapore via unsplash.com

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