Monday Morning Momentum
My four-year old daughter and I were walking through a nature preserve last year when she stopped, turned around, and looked right up at me and said, “Papi, what did you say?”
I said, “Ah, nothing sweetie.”
“But Papi, I heard you say something.”
“Oh, Eliana, I must have been talking to myself.”
And then she asked me the big question, “Papi, why were you talking to yourself?”
Why was I talking to myself? That was a great question. I didn’t know. I didn’t even know that I was doing it!
While you might be smiling right now, you know you do it too. We all do it. If you don’t believe me, try this quick exercise.
Take a quick break and email me what you have read so far in this column. You can reach me at email@example.com. Okay?
Stop! Now what are you saying to yourself? “Why is he asking me to do this? I don’t have time right now. I don’t do exercises. I’m not emailing a columnist.” That’s all self-talk. As I said, we all do it. Everybody does.
And we talk fast. We speak out loud at approximately 200 words per minute. Yet we speak to ourselves at more than 1,300 words per minute. At this rate we might have over 45,000 thoughts per day. The problem is that many of these thoughts aren’t helpful.
this mean for us? Roy Baumeister, a
leading Psychology researcher from Florida State University
15 years ago my grandfather taught me that the answer can be “yes” if we choose what to say to ourselves.
visiting my grandfather in his home in Augusta, Maine.
That morning I walked down the short hallway from the guest bedroom to the kitchen. I stopped when I heard his voice. I slowly peeked around the corner and I saw him sitting in his rocking chair. He was staring at his legs as he was saying, “Legs don’t fail me now. You can do it. You’ve always been strong. I have a lot to do. Let’s go legs. I’m getting up.”
Thirty minutes later Bumpa was outside in his backyard chopping wood. Here was a man the doctors thought we had lost three times. He lived to be 90 years old.
My grandfather taught me the power of self-talk.
I’m at my best when I think about all the support I have, the strengths I have been given, the successes I’ve had, and the goals I have now. I’m at my best when I choose what to think about.
And it was my four-year old daughter’s question that reminded me to choose the self-talk that will help me to live my best possible life. Eliana also helped me remember how much I loved and admired my grandfather.
Copyright 2009 David J. Pollay
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David J. Pollay is the creator of The Law of the Garbage Truck™. He is a syndicated columnist with the North Star Writers Group, creator and host of The Happiness Answer™ television program, and an internationally sought after speaker. David’s book, The Law of the Garbage Truck™, is due out later this year. You can find out about the No Garbage Trucks! mission at www.thelawofthegarbagetruck.com.
David is the founder and president of the consulting and seminar organization, The Momentum Project. He is also a founding associate executive director of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA). If you want to reprint one of David’s columns, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s David’s full bio.
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