One of the very first mind-blowing things I learned in psychology was just how important the way we talk to ourselves is.
Every day we have voices running through our heads, deciding what we should believe and how we should act. These thoughts help guide us at work, at home, at school, or wherever.
Self-talk is an intricate part of every person’s life, but sometimes it so embedded in our way of being that we take it for granted.
However, whether we are conscious of it or not, these daily thoughts can have a tremendous impact on how we live our lives.
In this article, I focus just on the power of the word “yet,” and how using it more can help us become more growth-minded, as well as keep ourselves open to new possibilities in the future.
First, I believe our self-talk work best for us when it’s a healthy mix of realistic and optimistic.
I don’t think we can delude ourselves to success in life, but I also think we need to cultivate thoughts that at least give us the possibility of success and happiness.
One example of “unhealthy optimism” would be repeating things to yourself like, “I’m an amazing baseball player,” when really you’re not.
Trying to “trick” your mind into believing something that isn’t true won’t make you magically wake up one day and you’re an amazing baseball player. I don’t find the world to work that way.
And one example of “unhealthy realism” would be repeating things to yourself like, “I’m a crappy baseball player,” which may be true, but doesn’t exactly give you room to improve yourself.
You can be optimistic while still acknowledging reality and it’s uncertainties.
This is where “yet” comes in, and why it can be so powerful.
By using the word “yet” more in our self-talk, we can be honest about our current situation, while still knowing that it may not always be like that in the future.
To continue with the baseball player example, instead of trying to fool yourself into thinking “I’m an amazing baseball player,” or being brutally honest with yourself by thinking, “I’m a crappy baseball player” you can reframe it into something that is both realistic and optimistic.
“I’m not an amazing baseball player yet.”
Your brain will be much more willing to accept this belief and be motivated by it. Here’s why:
When you tell yourself something that deep-down you know is not true, then your brain is going to reject it no matter how many times you tell yourself it.
But using the word “yet” acknowledges the possibility of you becoming an amazing baseball player, while still being completely honest with yourself.
“Yet” also acknowledges that self-improvement takes time. It’s not something that magically happens overnight when you change your beliefs. It’s something that requires work, dedication, and slow but steady progress.
If you pay attention to your daily self-talk, you’ll find that “yet” is an extremely useful way to help reframe negative beliefs into something that is both realistic and optimistic. Growth-minded people use the word “yet” all of the time in this positive way.
And that’s just the power of one word. Think of all the other little words and phrases that could be affecting your life. Sometimes the tiniest words can make the biggest changes in our attitude.
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