This is an excerpt from Tim Marks latest book, Confidence of a Champion. Tim Marks is a Founder of LIFE Leadership. Hope this helps all of you in your success through life. Thank you, Scott Johnson
Hey gang! Here is an excerpt from my latest book, Confidence of a Champion, available through LIFE Leadership. I have had the privilege of coaching and mentoring many hundreds of people, some who rose to greater levels of success than others. One thing that I consistently see in high-performers is that they build themselves (and others) up. On the flip side, those who struggle to attain success tend to tear themselves down. My mentor, Orrin Woodward, has always taught me the story we tell ourselves about ourselves is a critical component to reaching our goals.
In this excerpt, I share some examples of how NOT to speak to yourself, spoken in a tongue-in-cheek manor. Hope this excerpt helps you on your success journey!
If you want to be your own emotional punching bag, you don’t need to re-invent the wheel; people have been beating themselves up emotionally long before you were a twinkle in your parent’s eyes. You may feel you are, as Winston Churchill said of his opponent, “A modest man who has much to be modest about.” Here are some sure-fire ways to make yourself feel terrible in no time. (Said tongue-in-cheek.)
Ignore or devalue everything you do well. Focusing on what you did wrong and ignoring everything you do well is a sure-fire way to deflate yourself. If you cook Christmas dinner and 19 people are raving about the food, but one person disliked the mashed potatoes, make sure to ignore all the compliments and just focus on the one criticism. You’ll feel terrible in no time.
“Yeah, but,” thinking. When someone says something nice about you, look for why they are incorrect in thinking that. Clearly they must be wrong, so it’s up to you to figure out how they made the mistake of thinking you are worthy of a compliment. If they say, “You look great in that outfit!” Just answer by saying, “What, this old thing? I got it in a rummage sale. It’s really not that nice. Besides, Jane down the street has the exact same outfit.” If someone says, “Great job on the report!” you can answer by saying, “Yeah, but I made a mistake on page three, paragraph two.”
Point out the smudges. If someone comes to your home and mentions what a great job you did painting your living room, say, “Yeah, but did you notice the smudge of paint in the corner of the ceiling? I made a mistake. Wait, let me get the stepladder so we can look at the mistake up close. Do you see it yet? I’m amazed you didn’t notice it, because it’s all I ever see when I walk into the room.”
Call yourself names. Whenever describing yourself, just use terms like “jerk”, “wimp”, “loser”, and any other creative variation to really knock yourself down and feel bad about yourself. Just constantly insult yourself. Did you lose the race in Grade 5 gym class? Then you are a “loser”, now and forever, because of that one event twenty years ago. Never mind that it’s utterly irrational to place a global evaluation of your worth as a person based on an isolated event or action; go ahead and slap that totally unfair label on for the slightest misdeed or error on your part. That seems fair.
Be unforgiving of any mistakes you make. Be your own toughest critic. If you get 99% on your real estate exam, where did the other 1% go? Just tell yourself that a good, worthwhile person wouldn’t have screwed up the way you did. Surely, he would have gotten 100%. Not only that, you should keep a running tally of every mistake you have ever made throughout your life. Remember in Grade 3 when you got the answer wrong in the spelling bee? Surely any other eight-year-old wouldn’t have hesitated when asked how to spell “antidisestablishmentarianism.” You were clearly out of your league and had no business competing. Plus, you should make sure to go home that night and describe this mistake in your journal so that you can review it and punish yourself forever.
Exaggerate your faults. While it might be true that everyone has faults, YOUR faults are really despicable. If people really knew the terrible things you do, they would never want to be around you again. Why, just last week you got into an elevator after lunch, having enjoyed several “Taco Bell” burritos and a sparkling soft drink. Needless to say, the combination of carbonated beverage and reheated taco meat produced an unholy combination in your tummy. Thankfully you were alone in the elevator at the time. Then the elevator doors opened and someone from the third floor stepped on. Unforgivable. (At least you were trapped in an elevator and not a Smart Car with a hot date. Or, maybe you were!)
Hopefully, as you read these “tongue-in-cheek” examples, you can see that they are unfair. Sometimes the best way to point out something irrational is to ridicule it. If the way you think of yourself is unfairly harsh, perhaps you need to gently poke fun at how irrational that thinking is in order to reconsider how you can be gentle and loving towards yourself.
Please don’t read the previous list thinking, “I’m such a loser for thinking this way. I always beat myself up. I’m sure everyone notices how I screw up this way all the time. Unforgivable.” If you read the previous list and have that reaction, please re-read the list, because you are still beating yourself up unfairly. While it can be helpful to keep us humble, focusing on our weaknesses too often can do more harm than good.