Those of you who have been reading my blogs the past 10 years know I do not use studies that do not employ scientific methods and peer-reviewed. In an alarming new finding by neuroscientists, it turns out that our brain is processing experiences via monologues (self talk, self analysis, self judgment) about 80-95% of the time. The rest is time spent in human interaction and dialogue, in person or electronically (connecting with others). The latter can be 2-way (actual back and forth communication) or 1-way (reading social/other media). These monologues continue while we sleep too. I proceeded to google search training resources on how to help people communicate (dialogue) with others. Millions of resources came up, quite literally, from how to communicate with children, with spouses, in sales, at work, in presentations …. endless. I found hardly any on how to communicate with yourself, how to conduct monologues so that they are the kind that are productive, nurturing, critical and growth oriented. In other words, we have resources for about 5-20% of what our brain consciously does and not the 80-95% of what it does subconsciously. For high performers, leaders, athletes, and coaches, consider learning/teaching to conduct healthy monologues, a game-changer.
It all starts with taking inventory of what you are actually saying to yourself, on non-stress and stressful situations, with or without people around you. When I read some of the dialogue materials, they were quite specific in teaching what to say or not say to others, what to write or not write, and how to craft words to match non-verbals. Why would this same approach not work for monologues? Why should you not learn what to say to yourself in certain situations and what not to say?
This week, begin to ‘listen’ to your monologues. What are you narrating to yourself in specific situations? Make a list of the tone, language, and volume of the monologue. Take one situation and consider you are having a dialogue with yourself about the situation – what would you change about your monologue so you could showcase a better version of yourself, your creativity and skills. You may just learn that the better monologues you have, the better dialogues will result because you are a better person.