How often is the voice inside your head telling you that you are not good enough? How many times is it telling you that you should feel afraid? How regularly is it making excuses of why you cannot accomplish a big goal or take a big risk? Is it causing you to worry and feel anxiety about situations or scenarios that may or may not occur in the future? Or do you find yourself listening to toxic self-criticism for past mistakes that cause you to feel depressed and discontent?
I fight the negative voice inside my head daily, and I have learned several habits and processes that I use to program my mind to reject negative thinking and replace it with positive opportunities. Simply replacing what I call “weak thoughts” with “strong thoughts” is a simple exercise that reframes my mindset. I believe equipped with the right attitude life is limitless.
For instance, if I feel anxiety for a big new project that I have been assigned at work, I might find the negative voice in my head telling me, “This project is going to take so much effort and I don’t have the time available to do it. I am going to have to work late nights and my life will suffer consequently. Plus, I’ll probably screw this up and look like a fool. This sucks.”
This negative voice is toxic! Instead, I will recognize the “weak thought” immediately and kill it with a “strong thought.” I’ll recognize the negative voice and replace it with a confident spin that might say, “This is a great opportunity to test myself, test my time management, test my work ethic, and grow stronger in my abilities. If I feel overwhelmed or unable to complete certain tasks within my working hours, I will ask for help. I will succeed and I will celebrate accomplishing my goal!”
The weak thought is based in victim mentality, and the strong thought is based in confidence and self-belief, with a no excuses mindset.
I have recently incorporated an additional tool for defeating the negative voice inside my head. It works fast and effectively. I have given the negative voice inside my head a name, and I tell it to shut up as soon as I recognize it speaking. I adopted this tool over the span of 2 weeks, in which the following 3 scenarios occurred.
- I watched the Disney movie, “Luca.” In the movie, the two main characters are building up the courage to race a scooter down a hill and jump it off a ramp into the ocean. One of the characters is afraid, and the other responds that when the voice inside his head is making him feel afraid, he yells, “Silenzio Bruno!” He tells the voice to simply shut up and it goes away.
- I attended a business leadership workshop, and one of the participants shared that he recently read a book that suggested naming the negative voice inside your head. When the voice begins spewing negative thoughts, simply tell it to shut up and watch it go away.
- Mary Lyons was featured on The Pursuit of Growth Show #22, and during our interview I asked how she deals with the negative voice inside her head. She shared that a former mentor and coach told her to name the negative voice and tell it to shut up. She regularly confronts the voice in her head by yelling, “Shut up Linda!” Once she does this, Linda goes away.
It is important to recognize the difference between the negative voice in your head and the voice of reason that is also present to keep you from making hurtful mistakes. As with most things in life, use common sense as your guide in recognizing the difference between the two. Identify your morals, ideals, goals, and character traits you wish to embody and accomplish. You will know the difference.
I named the negative voice in my head “Satan,” which was inspired by the image of the little devil on the shoulder and because his words in my head are full of deceit and deception. He is constantly telling me that I am not good enough to accomplish my goals and filling my mind with thoughts describing worse case scenarios that “might” occur in the future. I love telling him to shut up. Once, I do, he disappears, and I feel an immediate sense of power and confidence. Naming the voice inside my head has given me a mental tool that works effectively and quickly.
I challenge you to name the negative voice in your head. Today, when that voice is telling you to be nervous, doubtful, overwhelmed, angry, jealous, depressed, judgmental, critical, or scared, tell it to SHUT UP! Then, reframe your weak thought with a strong thought and move on with the right attitude!