“Your self-talk creates your reality.”
― Abhishek Kumar
I ran into a childhood friend recently who I haven’t seen for quite some time now so I wasn’t really surprised by his reaction in terms of how I look now and how I was when he last saw me.
“You gained weight bro!” he said (Ouch!)
“Well thank you jerk!” I replied sarcastically.
“I guess you don’t play anymore. You should come with us on Saturday nights and shed some of those “baby fat” he said with a playful tone.
“We’ll see. Been busy lately but I will surely text you if I can come.” I said as we shook hands and said our goodbyes.
I do miss playing hoops. It’s my first love but with family and work at my disposal, I couldn’t find time for it anymore although sometimes I feel like I’m just making an excuse to avoid physical activity.
I was in second grade when I became a fan of the sport. My dad bought me a basketball ring and board that I would hang through a nail at the back of our main door and I would shoot hoops all day.
I got my first taste of real competition when I was in sixth grade when my friends and I joined the thirteen-and-under league where we won third place but my most memorable experience came during my freshman year in highschool.
It was 1991 and this was the year I won my only MVP award and it all came down the wire in dramatic fashion.
We got to the finals and we faced the team who beat us twice during the double-round elimination but unlike the previous games against them, we were able to stand toe-to-toe with them this time.
It was action-packed until the final buzzer. I was fouled with the one second remaining on the clock and the score was tied. It was the most tense moment of my life because I had to shoot free throws and at least make one to win the game.
The crowd was on its feet. I heard a lot of cheers but also received a lot of boos from the opposing team’s supporters. Some of them even howled rude remarks towards me as I stood in front of the free throw line while waiting for the referee to hand me the ball.
The feeling was indescribable. It was a mix of pure excitement and unbelievable tension. I felt like I was going to faint at one point. It’s like you see the goal, you see the crowd but you hear nothing despite the loud environment.
I dribbled the ball twice but before I can take the shot, the referee blew his whistle to stop me from shooting because some of the fans of the other team are already under the goal waving their white towels as a form of distraction. I took the shot anyway as the referee forced them to move back.
The referee gave me the ball again. I dribbled twice, took a deep breath and before I took the shot, I told myself “you can do this” repeatedly for so many times.
I released the ball, it bounced twice in front of the rim before finally going in.
It didn’t sink in that we’ve already won until my teammates mobbed me in the middle of the court. We had one big “group hug” and I was so happy at that time, it brought me to tears.
Looking back, I think I never would have made that shot without that moment of positive self-talk. Those encouraging words gave me the confidence. It pumped me up and made me believe that I can actually make that shot.
The things we tell ourselves has a profound effect in our lives. Like the human body that requires food, the mind needs to be fed too. You have to feed it with positive thoughts if you want to see positive results. There’s a lot of benefits in practicing positive self-talk and here are some of them:
It builds confidence
The purpose of having cheerleaders is for a team to have the confidence to play hard and win. It’s a different high if you have a throng of supporters right behind you, supporting you but no bigger cheerleader is there other than your self.
You have to be your own biggest fan because family and friend support wouldn’t mean anything if you yourself don’t believe in your own capabilities.
“I can do this”
“I can survive this”
“I won’t quit”
These are empowering words that you should be telling yourself everytime you face adversity or when you are in a tight situation.
It gives you hope
Hope is one of the most important feeling everyone should have. Without hope, you’re done. It is that fuel that keeps your engine going despite the obstacles you run into.
As the old saying goes, when there’s life, there’s hope.
Always believe that no matter how bad your circumstances are that there is a way out of it. That it would all come to pass soon.
“This too shall pass”
“This would all be over soon”
This is one of the reasons why I love listening to Dave Ramsey’s radio program. I love it when people come to him to do their “debt-free scream”. These are people who defied enormous adds by living within their means and making huge amounts of sacrifice to pay off their mounting debts.
Some of them had debts that amounted to more than a hundred thousand dollars that took them years to pay off. These people proved what others thought would be impossible and I would love to be in their shoes soon.
It relieves stress
As an employee, we all experience stress albeit in different levels that’s why everyone appreciates a company that promotes work-life balance but what if you work for one that doesn’t? What if you need the job and you’re unable to transfer because none of your active applications got back to you?
Some will prefer to get depressed and stay there for as long as they can complaining everyday and believe me, there are many of them.
“I’m lucky to have this job”
“It’s better than having no job at all”
“This is only temporary and that break I am waiting for will come soon”
It improves your performance
I have a friend back in highschool whose competitive spirit I really admire. He was tenacious and he didn’t accept defeat that easily.
One time he scored low on a quiz and he just couldn’t shake it off. He told me he will redeem himself over and over and I even saw these same words written in one of the pages of his notebook.
I can just imagine what was going on in that brain of his. He must have told himself “I will get back stronger” or “I will do better next time” or “this will never happen again”.
The great thing was, it actually produced better results for him. He got high scores for the succeeding quizzes and examinations after that experience.
It brought out the best in him.
This is exactly how we all should treat obstacles and failures. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, challenge yourself to rise to the occasion by never accepting defeat and using it as motivation to do better next time.
Over to you
Do you engage in positive self-talk? What do you usually tell yourself during the tough times?
I would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment below or share some of your stories.
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