There are only a handful of Life Skills that really matter. Personally I think the one that matters most is the skill to communicate with ourselves and others. While many of us are familiar with the importance of inter-personal communications skills – my favorite resource – few people are as familiar with the importance of the way we communicate with ourselves.
As they say, you are what you eat. You are also what and who you think you are. And unfortunately when it comes to our own self, our perception often tends to be biased to the negative. How often does a gilfriend or wife really ask if she looks fat? Probably not very often. But how often does she ask if she looks beautiful? My guess is even less often.
Part of communicating with ourselves is to be conscious of the language we use and how it affects us. They say that good liars are good liars because they ultimately convince themselves that their lies are the truth. The same is true with our minds. If we constantly tell ourselves we are not good enough, we will think we are not good enough, and we likely won’t be. If we tell ourselves we can do anything, however, we just might. Or at least we might try. But how?
Some people give me crap about affirmations and visualizations. I tell them to read Think and Grow Rich and Psycho-Cybernetics. But while I swear by these tools, this type of daily practice requires some research and effort. So for those who don’t want to put in the effort, I suggest a simple approach to monitoring your personal communications. Every day in every way you talk – in your head, aloud, to others – pay attention and correct the language you use. Here’s some simple things to look out for:
- Language that inspires: I can. I will. I do. I have.
- Language that limits you: I can’t. I never. I always. It’s just not me.
- Negativity: Do things suck or is your lens dirty?
- Positivity: Clean the lens and fewer things will suck.
- Moving problems to the past: My friend Ross taught me a technique to simply say “until recently I had [such a problem]…
- Moving solutions to the future: …but, with the resources I now have I am now creating the future [ ]
- Emotional connections: Pay attention to how it feels to use certain language (e.g. when you say “I’m stressed,” where do you notice the feeling?). Say more of the things that feel good.