According to leading behavioural researchers from Shad Helmstetter's great book 'What To Say When You Talk To Yourself', as much as 75 percent of everything we think is negative, counterproductive and works against us. Wow. Read that again.
Once you've got over the shock, let me ask you how many self-development books and programs you've bought with the intention of developing a new skill or an empowering habit, only to find they failed to deliver?
So, why so much negative programming? In order to fully understand the answer, we have to understand how our brains work:
- Programming creates beliefs
- Beliefs create attitudes
- Attitudes create feelings
- Feelings determine actions
- Actions create results
The average youngster from an average family, according to Mr Helmstetter, has been told 'No' or what they can't do about 150,000 times by the time they reach 18. I'm sure you can think of a few examples yourself. It's no wonder then that with this kind of negative programming, positive changes seldom happen as quickly or as effectively as we would like.
Identify Your Present Programming
To turn matters around, the first thing we need to do to improve our results is identify our current programming. But what exactly is our programming and how do we change it to make the improvements we seek? Good question. Firstly, identify what you're saying to yourself quietly (even openly) and take note over a few days. This exercise is very revealing and may even surprise you - it did me, and it's very useful!
Listen for how many times you tell yourself you don't have enough time, energy, can't be bothered, hate your job, don't have enough money, skills, the quiet nudges of self-doubt, etc (just become aware of the stories you tell yourself) then ask yourself how badly you really want those goals you've promised yourself which probably contradict what you actually believe you can achieve.
Once you've identified the negative response(s), every time the negative thought comes up, change the words to an empowering version of your old negative self-talk, like: "I'm really hate my job at the moment" can easily be changed to "I enjoy my work, I understand the problems and get past them (of course if you really hate your job perhaps you should look to make a change).
To be or not to be...
What's really important here, is that for any self-improvement concept to be successful, it has to be simple, easy to use, and it has to work. For evidence of this process in your own life, just look at your present circumstances. If they're not the way you want them, I would suggest it's because of what you've been programmed to believe about yourself up until this point.
"When Shakespeare wrote the words "To be or not be..." he may not have known that he touched the essence of self. To be or not be, that is the question. To become or not to become; to achieve or not to achieve; to do or not to do - the answer to that question is the answer that will determine the future - and the success - of each and every one of us." - Shad Helmstetter.