In What To Say When You Talk To Yourself by Chad Helmstetter, you learn why all external motivation is temporary and how you can use self-talk to make a permanent and significant change.
What To Say When You Talk To Yourself Summary (PDF)
Let's dive right in!
This is why most self-help books don't work
Have you ever wondered why so many people are unsuccessful when there are so many books written on success?
Just go to a library, and you'll find that there are a plethora of books that claim to make you successful, yet people keep struggling to achieve even 10% success.
So what's the issue here?
Why aren't those motivational self-help books working?
The author expresses deep concern about this issue.
When he was a kid, he contemplated all the motivational stuff and eventually became a student of "success."
You may also have read and watched lots of motivational stuff, right?
Are you getting the results that those motivational speakers claimed?
Are you enjoying the success you expected?
Chances are you are moving from one self-help book to another. And those great ideas are not working at all.
Or are they?
Let's dive deeper and understand what's causing the problem.
The author says that all those motivational ideas stay in our heads for a limited time.
What happens then is, we switch back to our old programming.
And those ideas vanish into thin air.
The thing is:
We are being programmed by the outer-world ever since we were born.
Do you believe it?
Most of our knowledge or information isn't produced by us. It comes from other people.
Hold on for a moment. And reread the above line.
Let me make it easy to understand.
Every time you watch a motivational video or listen to a motivational speech, you consume potent ideas.
Which then affects your beliefs and attitude.
We all have a default state of mind. So whenever there is a change in the state of our mind, we feel different.
When you take in motivational ideas, you feel energetic.
And when you hear failure stories, you feel depressed.
But over time, you switch back to your default state of mind.
Getting the point now?
That's the reason motivation stays with you for a limited time.
And since you have conditioned your mind to remain in a particular state, it goes back to its default setting.
Then you wonder why those ideas have turned useless.
So no matter how great an idea is, if you are not prepared enough to incubate it or nurture it, it will be useless.
Imagine what you could have achieved if you had the right mindset?
Imagine what you could do if you were conditioned to be your best possible self?
Even right now, you are being programmed.
Even as you read these words, your mind is taking in these ideas.
And whether you change for good or not, it'll depend on what your default programming is.
Change your inner-programming to change your life
So what the heck is this "programming"?
Let's talk more about this.
The author gives a great analogy to explain this.
Compare your brain to a personal computer for a moment.
A personal computer has both hardware and software.
You can touch the hardware. But you can't touch the software.
But the software is what controls the hardware, right?
The same is with us, humans.
We are controlled by our minds, which act like software.
If we dig deeper, there are many things like attitude, beliefs, attitude, feelings, etc., which affect who we are and what we do.
As we talked earlier, that programming is why we fail to reach our full potential.
Just think about it:
What if you could change that programming?
What if you could change it to achieve your desired goals?
It'd be amazing, right?
The problem is:
It takes time to change it. Why? Because it took years to develop.
You can't change your inner-programming overnight.
Generally, the programming is made of what you consume from your environment.
The words you hear from your family and friends. The words you say to yourself.
The words you speak while talking to your friends.
They all leave an impact or impression on your default programming.
Put it another way, they affect your subconscious mind.
So to change that programming for good, you'll need to work on your subconscious mind.
Sound like a lot of work, right? Not really.
The author says that if you use self-talk the right way, you'll be able to edit those internal programs and change them however you want.
Here is how you can protect yourself from negative programming
"Not all programming is bad for you."
Just as not all things are bad, not all programming works against you.
Sadly, most of it is terrible. And stands as a wall between your success.
What you have to do is:
You have to break that wall by destroying your old programming and write a new one instead.
Notice the first part: You have to break the wall that's holding you back.
Again, it's a lot of work.
The better approach is to protect yourself from that negative programming.
It's a preventive measure. By doing so, you guard yourself against future troubles.
Thinking about what is positive and what is negative?
Here are a few examples of negative programming that you receive from other people:
"You are not good at [task/job]"
"You will never be able to achieve [goal]"
Here are a few examples of positive programming that you barely get from other people:
"You are good at what you do."
"You'll definitely achieve your [goal]"
Do you remember when was the last time someone said those encouraging words to you?
It's not common, right?
But these days, due to the Internet, we hear lots of motivational stuff.
But since we don't really believe in all that due to our default programming, it becomes useless after a few days.
It doesn't leave much of an impact.
The only way to protect yourself from negative programming is by practicing self-talk.
Self-talk is when you talk to yourself.
You can talk to yourself in many ways.
For instance, you can silently talk to yourself.
Or read out positive and encouraging sentences out loud.
Don't ask me what to read or say out loud. There is already so much motivation on the Internet, right?
You are also programming others
You don't realize it!
But YOU are also programming others.
It might not make sense, but everyone is programming everyone else.
We all have beliefs that we cherish so much.
We talk about ideas and stories that we believe in.
It's human nature. We are social animals, after all.
Unconsciously, we spread our philosophies into this world. And whether we realize it or not, we program other people.
Of course, it's not the same thing you see in the movies. And it's definitely not MAGIC.
It's the neuroscience that works behind the scenes.
Many research and studies have been done by the neuro-scientists who study the neurons in our brains.
The question is:
How do we make sure that we are not giving negative programming to other people?
This question, again, brings us back to practicing self-talk.
If your own programming is right, you'll naturally give the right programming to others.
And conversely, if your programming is negative, you'll naturally spread negative programming onto others.
By breaking your old programming and talking to yourself, you can destroy your limiting beliefs.
This is important. Why?
Because we are continually receiving programming from other people, too - whether we want it or not.
If we are not conscious of our own programming, we are only delaying our inevitable failures.
Bad programming will hurt you. Yes, it's true.
We don't realize how often our bad programming destroys the opportunities that life brings us.
Motivation is a myth
The author says that all external motivation is temporary.
If you've read everything above, you know already how your inner-programming works against you most of the time.
External motivation doesn't last because we switch back to our old ways of doing things.
We never put those great ideas into action.
That's why most people fail!
Because if we all put those ideas into action, we all had become successful like Elon Musk.
Or didn't we?
What we are shooting for is the permanent change that would help us achieve our goals and reach our full potential.
According to the author, the best way is to change what we believe.
If we believe in the right things, we will probably take the right action ... And get the right results for ourselves.
Make sense? Okay.
Now let's get rid of some doubts that most people have about practicing self-talk.
Self-talk is not hypnosis
I don't know why, but self-talk sounds like some other-worldly thing.
Usually, people are busy, and they never find time to talk to themselves.
And when they hear about self-talk, they think it won't work for them. It's not their fault.
It's natural to ask:
How can one become more capable of achieving his goals by talking to himself?
The truth is:
You only get results when you take action. (Nothing can change this fact)
But what action you'll take is determined by what you think and believe.
If you think, "I will never become a great writer," you never will.
If you think, "I will never become successful," you never will.
If you can't even say to yourself that you will do something extraordinary in your life, chances are you won't do anything significant in your life.
Why? Because you don't simply believe that you can do it.
It may sound motivational, but it's the truth backed by science.
The author clears the myth that self-talk is not hypnosis.
In case you don't know:
When people are hypnotized, the author says, they enter into a trance state. And they are programmed during that time to believe certain things.
I don't know much about it.
The point is:
During hypnosis, you aren't fully conscious.
But when you talk to yourself, you remain fully conscious.
That's the beauty of practicing self-talk.
During self-talk, you don't force ideas onto your subconscious mind. You consciously try to change what you think and believe about yourself.
You try to deliberately change the bad conditioning that has been done to you.
Goal-Setting should be easy
If your goals can't be broken down into small manageable goals, you'll find it difficult to accomplish them.
Setting big goals might encourage you.
But you should also know that goals don't have to be too BIG all the time.
The author says that goals can be as simple as having some free time.
Most people make goal-setting unnecessarily complicated.
They set unrealistic goals.
And once their motivation wears off, they struggle for some time and eventually give up.
You don't need to that.
Set simple goals in the beginning.
Don't make things harder.
Simple goals and commitments also help you build good habits.
As I studied in the Atomic Habits by James Clear:
Good habits take time.
You often need to cross a threshold to make good habits stick.
And making micro-commitments and accomplishing small goals first helps you make good habits last.
Another reason you shouldn't make goal-setting hard is that we don't have much time in our lives.
No matter who you are and what your situation is, we have only 24 hours in a day.
So if your goal is unrealistic, it won't fit in your daily life.
Big goals take time.
This doesn't mean that you shouldn't strive for big achievements.
You just need to make sure that whatever your goals are, you can find time for it.
You must not think of your goals as something different than what you do daily.
If you pay attention, we are always setting simple goals for ourselves.
Waking up before 6 AM.
Or going to the office before you get late.
These are all simple goals. And that's the reason we accomplish them easily.
When we think of big goals as something unusual, we only make things harder.
The author says:
"If it's not easy, it won't work."
Here is the thing:
Only simple ideas get executed. We often procrastinate on complex ideas.
So break the complex ideas into smaller ones and execute them.
What To Say When You Talk To Yourself Quotes
"You'll become what you think about most."
"Not all problems are opportunities."
"No idea, no matter how good, won't work if it doesn't get used."
The Key Takeaways from What To Say When You Talk To Yourself Summary
Now it's your turn
I hope you liked this summary and learned a lot of valuable lessons.
Now you tell me:
Do you believe that self-talk can help you change your old-conditioning for good?
What self-limiting beliefs do you have right now? And how do you wish to overcome them?
Let me know in the comments below.
Don't forget to share this summary with your friends and family members to encourage them and help them break their bad programming.
Thanks for reading!