The Three Languages of Mind-Chatter
Your mind is multi-lingual. Even if you only actually speak one language, your brain uses different language at different times.
Which of these languages you choose to listen to ultimately determines your stress level, your success rate, and your overall happiness.
Let me explain.
In working with coaching clients over the years, I have discovered a fascinating thing when it comes to self-talk. No matter who you are or what you do, your self-talk sucks. From little league ballplayers to high school students to entry level sales people to C-suite peeps, your self-talk can significantly get in your way.
Here’s the interesting part…the words you actually think when it comes to self-talk are not the problem; the problem is which of those words you choose to listen to.
The “mind-chatter” languages that I see most often are these:
- Inflated language
- Non-committal language
- Deliberate language
Two of these will derail you quickly. One of them will support you along your journey to success and happiness.
“Inflated language” happens when you talk or think in a way that blows everything completely out of proportion. An example would be you saying, “I have a million things to do today!” No, you do not have a million things to do today…you have six things to do today.
By creating such an insurmountable and overwhelming thing in your mind, you instantly kick yourself into ‘fight or flight’ mode. Speaking or thinking in “inflated language” brings your breath high up into your chest and causes your brain to start doling out adrenaline and cortisol, you know,those wonderful stress inducing chemicals and hormones. You feel tense, you feel anxious.
You feel as if everything is working against you. You know the drill.
This never ends well. When you begin that cycle, you need to consciously stop it or it will continue to play out for the next several hours. Those are the days when you are convinced that “nothing is going right!”
YOU did that. Not the guy who cut you off in traffic that morning. Not the lady who was rude at the checkout. Not the co-worker who is always late and expects you to cover for him. YOU. You are the one who made your day overwhelming.
‘Inflated language’ helps you create stress, a ‘foggy’ brain, and keeps you in “react” mode all day long.
Non-committal language is the second way we talk and think that is 100% not helpful to you. You know when you are speaking or thinking in “non-committal” language when you notice yourself using words like: maybe, I’ll try, I’m not sure, I can’t do that, what if it doesn’t work, I don’t know that we can do that, if I can get there I will, etc.
You will notice that the two most powerful words in your vocabulary are non-existent with non-committal language; yes and no.
When you use (and listen to) this type of language, you are once again creating your own stress and overwhelm; this time by inducing indecision.
Indecision is understandable sometimes. When we need to make truly difficult decisions, we take more time and do more thinking before committing. However, it is ridiculously common these days to have indecision over the most simple and inane things in our everyday lives. Because of that, a cycle of indecision gets created and, dare I say, becomes a habit.
The habit of indecision is destructive; it hinders success.
Using non-committal language too often creates a constant state of feeling likes things are incomplete. There is no closure with anything. This can make life feel like it is a mountain growing bigger and bigger until it becomes insurmountable. It can feel as if there is “so much” to do simply because nothing is ever actually done; everything is left open.
More importantly, by using non-committal language, you are always questioning and doubting your own choices. You are handing decisions off to other people and, therefore, feel out of control regularly. When this happens, stress levels sky-rocket.
Deliberate language is the language of success, happiness, and calm. It is the only type of language that supports you in a positive way.
The two words that best support your success and happiness at any given time are “yes” and “no.”
I can already hear some people retorting, “Yes, but not everything is that crystal clear.” You are correct. My point here is that MOST things ARE. Those are the things that should never have you in indecision mode.
By making choices and decisions about things in your life, you take control of your life. When you hand decisions about your life off to everyone and everything else, you cannot possibly move forward and feel good about it. You will never get to to where you want to go without using deliberate language habitually.
If you ask any happy person you know, they will tell you about the power of saying “yes” or “no” often. The same goes for confident and calm people. If something serves or supports what they want to achieve, it gets a “yes.” If it is not in alignment, it gets a “no.” End of discussion.
Just like “inflated language” and non-committal language, deliberate language is a habit. You need to become self-aware and realize when you use them all. If you do, you will notice a trend. When you use the first two, you feel stressed and overwhelmed; when you use the latter, you feel confident and in-control.
Begin to pay attention to which language your mind tends to favor. Choose to listen to the language that serves you best. You are the creator of it all; you are the author. You can rewrite the script at any time.
Manage the conversation in your head and you will manage your life.