At the core of this approach is learning to become more resilient. Just as the body needs air, nutrition and regular exercise, your mind needs a fitness regimen, too. You must regularly stretch, feed, work, coach and rest your mind.
What follows are seven more keys to self-persuasion success. Consider this your all-access, lifetime membership to Mark’s Self-Persuasion World Gym.
1. Dopamine up.
Exercise can fuel dopamine production in your brain, making you feel good, look good and present your ideas with confidence. Plus, if your target doesn’t say “yes,” that response won’t bother you so much!
2. Be present.
Research suggests that the majority of people’s thoughts are almost entirely consumed with past regrets (“What I should have said was …”) or focused on anxiety about the future (“What if this next guy doesn’t buy?”). Such thinking makes us sacrifice the present moment, which is the most precious gift we have. So throw yourself into what you’re doing right now, and if your thoughts start to wander, tell yourself to “get back to work.”
3. Undergo digital detox.
Turn off all your gadgets for, say, 60 minutes a day — and enjoy the quiet. Think about it: No TV. No Spotify. No Twitter or Facebook. Making this a daily regimen will calm your brain and allow you to focus on the present.
4. Be convinced of your own value.
Ask yourself these questions and try to respond positively:
- Do people compliment your work?
- Do others ask for your advice?
- Have you contributed an idea at work?
- Have you sought additional education?
- Can you produce testimonials and references?
- Can you list best practices that make you successful?
- Have you participated in or contributed to a professional organization?
- Do clients or customers ask for you by name?
You might not have positive responses to all of these, but you probably have more than you thought. These are the accomplishments that should pass through your mind whenever your pathological critic works his way back into your self-talk.
5. Use positive affirmations.
In sports, team captains often rally their teammates by yelling at them: “We got this! We got this!” While it may not be grammatically correct, from a psychological perspective, it’s dead on. When you catch yourself slipping into negative self-talk, replace it with something positive. I realize this sounds goofy, but it works. Find a repeatable phrase and run it through your mind. I like one made famous by the late French psychotherapist Émile Coué:
“Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”
Find one that works for you and keep using it. You got this.
6. Always create high-quality options.
Never allow yourself to have just one option for your persuasion project. Always have Plan A, Plan B and Plan C. Offering high-quality options for everything you do will transform your mental state.
7. Keep a success journal.
Every night before you go bed, write down three things you did well that day. Some people are wired to magnify setbacks in their mind and minimize success. This isn’t healthy — mentally or physically. By forcing yourself to reflect on your day and capture three positive aspects, you can reverse this dynamic. Such an exercise takes incredible discipline, but if you can do this consistently, it can have the same mood-improving impact as anti-depressant drugs
Next time, I’ll share how to create an honest self-assessment.