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Self Talk is Real Talk

“Dave, were you just talking to yourself?” askes a client coming onto the training floor.

“Damn right!” I reply, “It’s not mad to talk to yourself, it’s mad not to listen!”

Self talk is huge.

And for most people, most of the time, it’s negative.

Stuff like:

  1. “You’re too fat”

  2. “You’re not strong enough”

  3. “You didn’t train enough”

  4. “Ah go on, have that extra bit of cake, and why not wash it down with a beer….”

If you spend a bit of time on the Google looking up self talk, you’ll inevitably come across the self help guru’s who’ll tell you to ignore the negative and focus on the positive, to love yourself and all that jazz.

I’m going to tell you that they’re talking out of their arse and that you NEED to listen to that negative self talk.

But you need to be subjective about it.

Being subjective seems to be a lost art, it’s about creating a bit of distance, not taking it personally. More like a debate than an argument.

For example:

Evil Self, “You didn’t train enough” You, “I get how you feel, but there’s no way I could have done more and still gotten enough recovery” Evil Self, “you’re lazy” You, “My training log says otherwise, progress is clear to see. And I got the kids to school every day, and I even managed to catch up at work!” Evil self, “Yeah, well, you’re fat!” You, “Am I? The number on the scales hasn’t changed, but I’ve gone in a notch on my belt and can feel my shorts are tighter across the shoulders”

Now THAT is positive self talk!

But what if you can’t answer one of those questions?

What if “Evil self” has a point.

In that case, you now know what to work on next.

You have now had a spotlight shine on your weakness, your Achilles heel.

Now, just imagine Achilles had been a bit smarter and worn some better armour around his foot and ankle, what if he’d not been so arrogant as to believe he was invulnerable. What if he’d have thought, I have a vulnerable spot, lets armour that bugger up before someone shoots and arrow into it and kills me.

And this is the hard part. This is the part people don’t want to do. This is why books on the subject of “Vulnerability” are now flying off the shelves.

It’s because we want to think we’re invulnerable, but like Achilles, we aint! And like Achilles, that vulnerability that we ignore could spell the end of us.

Unless you recognise it, embrace it as part of you and then do something about it. And more often than not, the very thing your self talk is harping on about is the very thing you need to recognise and work with.

There are of course exceptions. When self talk is telling you to sit on your arse stuffing your face with cheese on toast, that’s a discipline problem. But the good news is, discipline can be trained just like anything else.


Dave Hedges

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