Improving personal development³
Updated: Feb 16, 2021
Silencing internal and external chatter is key
Most people run the risk of living unfulfilled lives but why is that?
There probably isn't a single answer for this, but one thing that comes to mind has to do with our inability to silence internal and external chatter.
Humans have on average 6,200 thoughts a day. That's nearly 27,000 thoughts in a month and over 150,000 thoughts in six months. Unless we operate a tight ship 'up there', our thoughts can have a very detrimental effect on the quality of our personal and professional lives. To silence the internal chatter is to bring more awareness, presence and stillness to the way our minds operate.
We doubt ourselves more than others will ever doubt us so before we focus on silencing external chatter, let's focus on the internal side first.
It's important that we get into the habit of tracking our thoughts. We don't have to write down all 6,000 thoughts per day, but we do have to get into the habit of noticing the types of thoughts we tend to have.
Instead of judging our thoughts as good or bad, it's more important to focus on maintaining this awareness and presence as we go about our day.
At this point, a majority of us will soon realise that a big proportion of our thoughts is negative (fearful, doubtful, anxious, stressful, angry, frustrated etc.). Am I right?
This is completely normal. What isn't normal is doing nothing about this.
There are many ways to rewire the way our minds operate. We can take up meditation, we can sit in silence and do nothing, we can listen to positive affirmations, or mantras, we can go jogging, and/or we can have conversations with people who bring positive energy into our lives. The methods are endless (just Google it!). The important thing is to experiment and to consistently apply one or more of these throughout our day.
Now to look at external chatter. A lot of people will have varied opinions about us. Some people will admire us, and some won't. Some people will think we're too ambitious and others may think that we're not ambitious enough. Some people will say that we're too quiet and others will say that we're too opinionated. The fact is, a lot of people will think (and often say), a lot of deeply subjective things. Some of these things may ring true and some may not, but to be honest, none of it really matters. What people think is their problem, and if they feel they need to silence their internal chatter, following the five steps above will go a long way. Our job is to a) make sure we improve the way our mind thinks (this includes being more positive about ourselves and others!), and b) to learn how to steer clear of what other people think/say about us.
Life is a very subjective experience. There are universal truths which apply across time and space, but who we are and how we live our lives will be viewed in very different ways. Cultivating an internal compass by living life in a way that inspires ourselves and others is crucial. That's the only thing that really matters. If we think, say and do good, what others think/say about us has little impact on our footprint on this Earth. Compliments should not make us complacent and criticism should not clip our wings.
This doesn't mean to say that we shouldn't open ourselves up to other opinions, perspectives, advice and outlooks, but it does mean that we have to be selective about what we let into our mind-space.
It's important that we get into the habit of noticing what sort of impact other people's words and actions have on us. Cultivating a sense of composure despite what we hear about ourselves is an important skill to develop.
It's imperative that we correctly identify the intentions behind people's words and actions. If the intentions are positive, it's worth acknowledging and reflecting on. If the intentions are cynical or negative (in any shape or form), we should completely disregard whatever we hear/read/see etc. By taking this approach, we get into the habit of filtering out potentially useful information from useless external chatter.
Anything that puts us down/puts a ceiling on us and anything that is meant to reduce our worth/self-respect, has no right to be within our mind-frame.
Surrounding ourselves with people who have a passion for life will enable us to steer clear from any negative external chatter.
Being strict with ourselves in terms of how we silence external chatter is just as important as learning to silence internal chatter.