Guest Post: Inner Self Talk The 7 Words that hold you back

Michael J. Russ- Author and Adversity Coach

Your inner conversation, also known as self-talk, exerts more influence over your attitude, achievement, time, success, happiness, relationships, and overall prosperity than you can imagine. Self-talk is best defined as the thoughts and words you use to describe you and what you are doing.

Regardless of whether your inner dialogue remains in your head or is expressed in conversation, there are seven words that can hold you back. These words are: hard, difficult, tough, impossible, can’t, try and never, and usually make an appearance when referencing current and future actions, especially those related to adversity.

Why should you stop using these seven words? Aside from focusing on the negative, they generate unnecessary additional mental adversity and sow seeds of doubt that prevent you from fully committing.

Do you occasionally find yourself saying, this is going to be hard, it’s tough for me, or I will never finish this? Is there some rule that says something will be hard, tough or difficult, or that you will never get something done?

Have you ever heard a coach tell their team a game will be tough, difficult or impossible to win? Of course, not. A coach would never plant such a thought virus into the heads of their players.

When you approach tasks, goals, and intentions, use self-talk that affirms and supports what you want to happen, instead of what you do not. Thinking and saying, I can do this, is a great example of affirmative self-talk that opens pathways to producing your best effort. The phrase is simple, yet very empowering!

Right about now, you are probably wondering what I suggest you think and say in place of the seven words I recommend you drop from your self-talk vocabulary. In my view, simply referring to a response or future action as a challenge is more appropriate because it does not generate additional mental adversity. Examples of its use would be, cleaning this garage is going to be a real challenge or my health is my greatest challenge. These statements position you for what you must accomplish on the road ahead—igniting strength, will, creativity, and inspiration, as opposed to mountains of negative feelings and emotions that hold you back.

Framing actions as challenges might seem trivial, ridiculous, or even uncomfortable at first. What you will soon experience, however, is a noticeable difference in the way you
think and feel. Viewing actions as challenges sets the stage for mental clarity, optimism, possibility thinking, inspired actions, and miraculous aha moments.

Establishing clear goals and intentions and then crafting an inner conversation that supports them is crucial to making self-talk your most important resource and greatest ally for achievement and designing the life you envision. If you find it too great a challenge to keep the seven words I mentioned unsaid, remember this sage advice, if you can’t say something positive, don’t say anything at all.

About the author:
Michael J. Russ is an international bestselling author, inspiring speaker/trainer, and the founder of Zero AdversityTM Coaching & Training. This article was adapted from his international bestselling book, Zero Adversity: 3 Practical Steps to Freedom, Fulfillment, and Creating an Authentic Life, where he outlines a practical 3-step method everyone can use to experience balance, freedom, and prosperity in their life. Michael can be reached via email at

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