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Self-Talk
( http://www.solvency.org/stories/Today/books/Helmstetter.html)

This is a three for one book report. Shad Helmstetter is one of my favorite authors. He has written a dozen books and just has a new one out in hardback. The trilogy I am reviewing today is What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, The Self Talk Solution and Manage Your Choices and You Will Manage Your Life.

What to Say When You Talk to Yourself

page 19: As much as I have been a student of success, I have also been a skeptic. . . . The problem is not with the books. The problem is not with the seminars or with the motivational talks. There are a lot of self-help ideas and techniques that are good. They should work -- and they could. But they don't work, or they don't keep working, because of something that all of us overlooked: That's not how the brain works.

page 20: The 148,000 "no's!" If we grew up in fairly average, reasonably positive homes, we were told "No!" or what we could not do, more than 148,000 times! . . . I have had people tell me that they could not remember being told what they could accomplish in life more than three or four times! Whatever the number, for most of us the "yes's" we received simply didn't balance out the "no's."

page 21: Leading behavioral researchers have told us that as much as seventy-five percent of everything we think is negative, counterproductive, and works against us. . . . Year after year, word by word, our life scripts were etched. Layer by layer, nearly indelibly. our self images were created. In time we ourselves joined in. We began to believe that what we were being told by others -- and what we were telling ourselves -- was true. . . . Repletion is a convincing argument.

page 22 & 23: "As a man thinketh, so is he." I recall shaking my head thinking that could not be. How could we possibly be what you think? After all, isn't our physical self one thing and our private thought another? . . . I would come to know just how correct -- how scientifically correct -- that Biblical passage had been. . . . We become the living result of our own thoughts. . . . How successful you will be at anything is inexorably tied to the words and the beliefs about yourself that you have stored in your subconscious mind.

page 25: It is no longer a success theory; it is a simple, but powerful, fact. Neither luck nor desire has the slightest thing to do with it. It makes no difference whether we believe it or not. The brain simply believes what you tell it most. And what you tell it about you, it will create. It has no choice. (Pretty scary stuff if we are telling ourselves we will never get out of debt, never keep a decent paying job, always be poor, etc. Pretty powerful if we are telling ourselves we are organized and can plan well for our future, that we will have abundance in our lives, etc.)

page 47: If we can change our attitudes and our old behavior just by changing our programming, then none of us have to continue struggling through life with our old, negative programming dragging us down or holding us back. If we can just learn to give specific, productive new directions to our minds, then we have a chance to make things work -- and keep working. When I recognized that we could make a change in our lives by making a change in our programming, I saw for the first time, a crack in the wall of the 148,000 negatives, doubts, and destructive beliefs that each of us had built up in front of us. I began to believe that what was holding us back, defeating us, could itself be defeated. I began to realize that an exciting new future was about to become available to anyone who was standing behind the wall, waiting to get through.

pages 72 to 82: The Five Levels of Self-Talk

Level I Self-Talk -- The Level of Negative Acceptance ( "I can't . . .") This level is easy to spot. It is most always characterized by the words, "I can't . . ." or "if only I could . . ." or "I wish I could, but I can't," and so on. All Level I self-talk works against us. And unfortunately, it is the most frequently used self-talk of all! Rid yourself of the negative "I can'ts" of Level I self-talk and you will rid yourself of your greatest foe.

Level II Self-Talk -- The Level of Recognition, and Need to Change ( "I need to . . . I should . . .")This level is beguiling. On the surface it looks as though it should work for us. But instead, it works against us! In this level we are stating to ourselves and to others our recognition of our need to change. Level II self talk is characterized by words such as "I need to . . .," or "I ought to . . ." or "I should . . . "Why does that work against us? Because it recognizes a problem, but creates no solution. Level II self-talk creates guilt, disappointment, and an acceptance of our own self-imagined inadequacies.

Level III Self-Talk -- The Level of Decision to Change ("I never . . . I no longer . . .") Level III Self-Talk is the first level of Self-Talk that works *for* you instead of against you. In this level you recognize the need to change, but also you make the decision to do something about it -- and you state the decision in the "present tense" -- as though the change has already taken place. . . . It doesn't make any difference that you're still a smoker (compulsive debtor) when you start telling your subconscious you no longer smoke (debt). Remember, the subconscious mind will believe anything you tell it if you tell it long enough and strong enough. It will simply go to work and carry out its new directives. . . . When the new programming takes over it won't be the result of magic, hypnosis, meditation, or luck. That's just the way the mind works.

Level IV Self-Talk -- The Level of the Better You ("I am . . .") (Echoes of the book report on Robert Collier)

This is the most effective kind of Self-Talk we can ever use. In our Self-Talk vocabularies, Level IV is the kind of Self-Talk that has been used the least and is needed most. It is the level that you are painting a complete new picture of yourself, the way you really wanted to be, handing it to your subconscious, and saying, "This is the me I want you to create! Forget all that bad programming I gave you in the past. This is your new program. Now let's get to work at it! . . . Level IV Self-Talk is the *positive Self-Talk* that is the opposite of Level I. It replaces helpless "cannots" with vibrant "Yes, I cans!"

Level V Self-Talk -- The Level of Universal Affirmation ("It is . . .")

(I really didn't understand this level of self-talk. I don't think that Shad understood it either, because the half page about it in chapter nine is the only mention of it in the three books)

( The rest of "What to Say When You Talk to Yourself" gives examples of Level IV Self-Talk and gives suggestions on how to put them to best use. I read them dozens of times, never copying them down. I then started writing down in my 20 cent note book my own Level IV self talk affirmations. As I compare them to the ones Shad wrote, many of them are similar and cover the same qualities I want in my life, but they are in my own words. Somehow the are more powerful that way. "The Self-Talk Solution" carries the first book to greater detail and includes more than 2,000 personal Self-Talk phrases in dozens of different areas of interest.)

The Self-Talk Solution

page 67: When you use a new kind of Self-Talk, you begin to give yourself some completely new descriptions of who you are. You are handing your subconscious mind a new picture of at least a part of you, and saying, "This is me -- not that other person I thought was me all this time."

Let's say that you have begun using Self-Talk to get more things done on time, to stop procrastinating. So you start by using Self-Talk that tells you in the present tense (using the future tense such as "I will" tells the subconscious not to worry about because it doesn't apply to today.), as though you had already accomplished your goal, that you are in complete control of your time. Your new Self-Talk tells you such things as, "I do everything I need to do when I need to do it" -- a good example of effective Self-Talk.

Of course, when we first begin giving our selves the new programming, we have not yet become the way we are telling ourselves we *choose to become.* But we know we are capable of becoming that way -- and we are in the process of making the change.

When we do this we are defining -- for the subconscious mind -- who we really are, first inside and then, with practice, on the outside as well. But our old programming does not want to agree. It says, " No you don't! you can't make that change. You won't stop procrastinating. Why even try!" It has worked hard to keep us believing in our old limitations -- the ones that caused the problem, and in this example keeps us procrastinating in the first place.

Since when you use the new Self-Talk, you are following a very basic and natural process of the human brain, the potential for making a change is clearly on your side; if you keep using the new programming to override the old programming, you will win out.

page 94: Instead of reliving your past – pre-live your future.

Choices, Manage Your Choices and You Will Manage Your Life

(This is perhaps my favorite of the three. It would be worth getting for just “The Story of Naci and T'naci” or “The Four Steps of Choice.” If you were to get just one of the three books which would I suggest that you get? "What to Say When You Talk to Yourself." Now that I have studied all three and was given the an opportunity to keep just one, which would it be? Most definitely, "Choices." My hand written notes fill the white spaces between chapters. I spent nearly as much for yellow highlighters as I did for the book. "Okay," you ask, "Do I skip 'The Self-Talk Solution'?" If you do, you will miss “The Treasure.”)

page 4: In the years that followed, Naci learned to read the cards his mother had left him, but T'naci put them aside, and went his way without seeking their counsel. And while Naci prospered, increased his knowledge, and always seemed to do well, his brother T'naci floundered. From time to time they would meet and talk, but there was a growing difference between them.

"Why is it you do so well when I struggle and fail?" T'naci would ask.

"Perhaps it is because you have not listened to our mother," Naci would reply. "Perhaps it is because you do not use the cards. I had learned to read each of them, each morning of every day, and when I do, things seem to go better for me. Why don't you read our mother's cards for yourself? If you do, perhaps things will go better for you."

But T'naci did not.

page 6: "The twelfth card is perhaps the most important of these simple cards. It says, CHOOSE TO CHOOSE IN EVERY DETAIL OF YOUR LIFE. The other side of this card says, *I choose to choose,* and that is followed by the words, *I do not choose to choose.*

page 166: The Four Steps of Choice
1. Say to yourself (or out loud if you want to), "IS THIS A CHOICE?" 2. If the answer is yes, then immediately say to yourself, "THIS CHOICE IS MINE." 3. Next, as soon as you have given the choice as much or as little thought as it requires consciously say or think to yourself the words, "MY CHOICE IS . . ." and then complete the sentence. 4. Always be aware at a conscious level of why you have made the choice. Say to yourself, "THE REASON I MADE THIS CHOICE IS . . . " This is to keep you fully on top of which of your mental programs you are responding to, and who or what is in control of your decisions.

(also see: What To Say When You Talk To Yourself)

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