Challenge Negative Self-Talk

This goal is this article is to provide tips on how to challenge the stories we tell ourselves.  I have been comparing the work of two experts (Marty Seligman and Tony Robbins) to research this article. While Dr. Seligman focuses on Optimism and how to reduce helplessness, Tony Robbins is known for his belief in Neuro-linguistic Programming (conditioning our minds).

quote from Marty Seligman

If your first reaction is negative, ask yourself ‘why’?

Frustration Is A Normal Part of Life

Dr. Seligman is the forerunner of how pessimism can lead to depression. In his book Learned Optimism, he leads with a test so that you can see what your natural tendencies are in regards to pessimism and optimism. He points out that “frustration, defeat and rejection”[1] are part of normal life. Brilliantly, Seligman gets you aware of your attitudes and beliefs so that you stop telling yourself bad things. Further, if you do tell yourself negative things, Dr. Seligman suggests that you challenge the self-talk before it becomes a belief:

Much of the skill of dealing with setback, of getting over the wall, consists of learning how to dispute your first thoughts in reaction to a setback.”[2]

While Dr. Seligman uses ‘disputation’, Tony Robbins uses the term ‘evaluation.’ Seligman is trying to keep people from getting depression and Tony Robbins is offering tools to help unlock hidden potential. I believe that is a significant element in the comparison.

Example: Improving Our Diet with Better Inner Questions

Tony Robbins states that “If we want to change the quality of our lives, we should change our habitual questions.”[3] This idea is wise and practical. If we can ask the right questions – on a regular basis – then we can get better results. For instance, ‘do I really want to eat that fat bomb?’ or ‘Is there too much sugar in that SODA?” Asking these two questions repeatedly leads me to lean foods and water.

These ideas have been the basis behind my research into The Attitude Thermostat. Attitude is situational. My belief is that we need to be aware of reactions and challenge the ones that are negative. Examine the stories that you tell yourself before you develop ‘personal fake news.’ It can change your life.

[1] Learned Optimism. Martin E.P. Seligman. Random House. Vintage Books. 2008. P 285

[2] Learned Optimism. Martin E.P. Seligman. Random House. Vintage Books. 2008 P 263

[3] Awaken the Giant Within. Tony Robbins. Simon and Schuster. P 179 1991


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