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How our thoughts affect our performance

Research has shown that if we tell ourselves we’re not going to do well, the result is that we in fact don’t do well. Conversely, in that study when the same people who thought they wouldn’t perform well were told to just give it a go and reassured that they will probably pass the benchmark anyway, they performed just as well as other groups of people in the study.

This tells us that when we do take action, even if we lack confidence or self-belief, we can usually perform at least as well as anyone else. And it also tells us that our noisy and opinionated Inner Critic has a measurable negative impact on how we perform.

The more we fret, worry and listen to our Inner Critic, the more these thoughts become automatic. We train our brains into thinking negatively.  And then our decisions, perceptions and behaviours become influenced by these thoughts, and the result is that we limit ourselves far more than we should or need to.

Our inner critic is particularly effective at limiting our behaviours when we are faced with something that’s beyond our comfort zone.

The research that has come out from the last few decades of Neuroscience is showing in no uncertain terms, that to improve your capacity to learn, grow and achieve more than you can imagine for yourself, you only have to change your thoughts.  Nothing too strenuous!  It doesn’t require physical fitness or cognitive ability to do it, it just requires us to decide to think positively and then practise it a lot until it that way of thinking becomes our habit.

In other words, we CAN rewire our brains and as a result feel more confident.

So how do I do that Lisa?  First, watch yourself as you go about your daily life.  Really open your ears to hear what that inner voice is saying.  When you hear it, note what it is saying.  Then become your own lawyer.  Present your brain with a different viewpoint, a more positive angle, something that carries hope and possibility.  At first you might find your own brain a bit sceptical, but that’s because we have trained it so well to think negatively.  As sure as you were able to do that, you can train it to think positively, but it needs constant repetition.

Immerse yourself in the positive alternative ways to look at your life.  What are you grateful for right now?  What do you have now that you dreamed of 10 or 20 years ago?   What are the possibilities in your future – not the probabilities – the possibilities?  What is already working well for you?  Who do you have on your side or in your corner?

And the time when you feel least like doing this is the most important time to push through.  When you are most tired, most deflated.  It’s easy to think positively when things are going well.  The challenge is to remember to make the effort when things are not going well.

You can do it.  You have the ability to do it. I know because I know you are a human, and I know human physiology from my time as a nurse and from years of coaching and reading extensively about this subject and from coaching individuals who have told me that they were surprised at their ability to change their mindset.  You can do it – you just need to decide to do it.

Can you make that decision for yourself?

Until next week, all the best,

Lisa