Positive thinking is critical to successfully achieving your goals.

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Positive thinking

Be positive!

Positive Thinking And Your Inner Voice

We all have an inner voice.

For many of us, that voice will be an inner critic feeding us negative statements: “I failed”, “That was rubbish”, “I can’t”.

This often comes from comparing ourselves to others.

It has become even easier to do this as people post the wonderful side of their lives on social media, and none of the sad or mundane reality.

It is another reason to stop using social media, especially those forms where people just broadcast, rather than communicating.

If you think negative thoughts, they will interfere with you performing well.

You want to replace these negative thoughts with positive ones, especially in important situations.

Developing positive self-talk leaves you feeling more confident.

You can take this a step further to maximise how your mind helps you achieve your goals by thinking productive thoughts that promote excellence.

Productive Thinking

What is productive thinking and how does it differ from simply thinking positive thoughts?

It is an idea that Shane Murphy, head psychologist to the US Olympic Team in the 1980s, puts forward in his book, The Achievement Zone.

The Achievement Zone by Shane Murphy

Productive thinking means using your inner voice to help you move quickly towards your goals.

Murphy describes how productive thinking is both positive and critical and has an element of action to it.

It is not just thinking positive thoughts, rather it is thinking in a way which leads to positive action.

As an example, it could simply be a positive instruction to yourself at the right time in your performance.

To think productively you should identify the thoughts that you have which interfere with your performance.

These might be worries and anxieties or they may be negative internal talk.

You can then change these into positive thoughts combined with action.

As an example, a negative thought like “I am so dumb” can be turned into a productive thought like “I have learnt…” and by applying what you have learnt as soon as you can.

Another negative thought like “I’ve failed” can be turned into a productive thought like “I can do better next time by…”, giving you action that you take to improve.

Using Your Inner Critic To Your Advantage

Your inner critic is a wonderful way of identifying your weaknesses.

Negative self-talk often has useful information about areas that you could improve.

It may indicate points in your performance that are especially important and so need focus.

You can dramatically improve your performance by listening to your inner critic, writing down what you hear and using that to set actions to make changes.

Change Your Self-Talk

You can also create your own productive instructions that you can introduce into your performance to enhance it.

You can write these down and read them before going into your performance to remind you to use them.

Here is a simple example.

You make a poor serve in a game of tennis.

Your inner critic says, “I am rubbish”.

That might indicate that you need to work on your serve rather that you are rubbish in yourself and cannot improve your serve.

As well as practising your serve, you could change your self-talk to “This is going in!”

You can also reinforce successes through positive self-talk: when you perform particularly well you could say, “That’s just like me”.

Or “I’m a winner”.

By focusing on what you are trying to achieve and finding ways to improve increases your chance of achieving it.

Ultimately personal improvement is about comparing yourself against what you want to achieve rather than comparing yourself to others.

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