The One Self-deprecating Habit to Avoid at All Cost
Virtually everyone I’ve ever met in real life (not in the magical bubble of social media) was struggling with their self-talk and this struggle was always at the source of their life struggles. We judge ourselves harshly. We belittle ourselves. We are full of self-doubts and self-loathing.
When I wrote my book about overcoming shyness, From Shy to Hi, I shared negative thoughts that crossed my mind when I was about to approach a stranger and start a conversation. It was a real slop bucket. I was blown away when every beta reader I shared the advanced reading copy with said: “Yeah, me too. I tell myself such atrocious stuff all too often.”
That was the first time I’d ever gotten confirmation that I was not a lonely madman. We all share this affliction. I started to see this theme again and again. Self-talk was affecting everything I was teaching about.
For example, if you want to change your personal philosophy (the topic of my book Trickle Down Mindset), you must pay attention to your self-talk, or it may undermine everything you want to accomplish. You may read zillions of personal development books and listen to gurus around the clock, but it’s to no avail if your self-talk torpedoes everything you consume.
“Well, this guy had it easy; I, on the other hand…”
“Bollocks! I don’t have his money/friends/wits, so it’s impossible for me.”
“Yes, I wish I was like him, but I’m not. I’m a worthless piece of sh…”
If you want to develop persistence and follow one course of action for the long haul (the topic of The Art of Persistence), your first obstacle is your self-talk. Whatever you say to yourself about persistence, or about the discipline you resolved to follow, will affect your performance. That’s the reason only 9% of folks succeed with their New Year’s resolutions. The rest tell themselves ugly things, especially after the first failure to keep their commitment. And they quit.
Crappy self-talk is also the main reason that only 42% of Americans even bother making a New Year’s resolution. Instead of attempting to change their lives, they simply say to themselves: “I’m no good. I’ll fail anyway, so why bother?”
Voices in your head are robbing you of your money when you spend it on useless trinkets like a fifteenth fridge magnet to feel the boost of shopping-induced dopamine. They rob you of your health when you reach out for junk food or roll over and go back to bed instead of going out for a morning jog.
What you say to yourself determines if you will do your job well. In fact, your self-talk often determines if you do any work at all. And it’s your negative self-talk that makes you lash out at your spouse or your children, not what they’ve done or said to you.
Playing Down Compliments
You surely know this situation. One person says: “That was brilliant! You are so smart!”
And the other person answers: “Nah! It was a piece of blind luck.”
This is so dumb and rude. You are simultaneously saying to a person who compliments you that:
-you have little to no self-worth
-they are dumb; they commend someone who doesn’t deserve a compliment
-you don’t value their opinion very highly
In fact, the only good answer to a compliment is authentic: “Thank you!”
Most of this article came straight from my book Power up Your Self-talk