What's it like inside your skull?
Is it serene, like goldfish – or hectic, like angry chickens?
What do your inner voices whisper – or shout – at you?
Take a moment to listen to the conversations you have with yourself and consider if they're kind and helpful, or mean-spirited and damaging.
I want us all to have kinder, more productive conversations with ourselves so we can get more great shit done.
How about you?
How many voices do you have?
Inside my head, it’s sometimes like a Saturday morning market: obligations and desires pull at me from all directions, and the clamour can be deafening.
Other times, it’s quiet… but never silent.
For me, there are two voices. One wants me to do well and have adventures; the other wants me to stay in bed, to stay “safe”. They’re my Inner Superhero and my Inner Dickhead.
How about you? Which voices do you have? And, more importantly, which do you listen to?
Your Inner Dickhead — the part of you that tells you to sit down and shut up, to be small and unintimidating and not to make a ruckus, the part that tells you you’re not good enough, that you can’t do this — hasn’t always been a dickhead.
Once, your Inner Dickhead kept you alive.
That voice, which always focuses straight on the negative, was your early warning system. It would notice the face-eating sabre-toothed badger waiting to pounce from the shadows. It kept an eye out for enemies who might hurt you. And it reined in your reckless streak, so it was more likely you’d survive to pass on your genes.
Back when all we had to worry about was being eaten or beaten or starving to death, our Inner Dickheads served us well.
Now, though, it keeps us stuck. Most of us, if we live in the affluent west, don’t have to worry about physical danger or starvation — thankfully. So that Inner Dickhead — the one that says ‘don’t do that, you’ll look stupid’ or ‘you’re not good enough’ or ‘there’s no point even trying, don’t bother’ — isn’t protecting us. It’s holding us back.
But you do have another voice. A quieter one.
The voice of your Inner Superhero. The voice that tells you you can do this, you are good enough, and you may as well give it a go.
You started a business, so you’ve listened to your Inner Superhero at least once. You’ve done the scary thing, rejected what most people do, and struck out on your own path.
Keep listening to that quiet voice because the more you listen, the louder and more confident it’ll become.
Your Inner Dickhead won’t ever go away completely; but you can drown it out with your Inner Superhero.
Here’s how I do it.
Every time my Inner Dickhead pipes up to tell me I’m an idiot, or I shouldn’t bother, or everyone hates me, or I don’t know what I’m doing, I write it down.
I write down exactly what it says, and consider: would I say that to anyone else? Even if I didn’t care for them? The answer is almost invariably, ‘Of course not!’ I’m in the habit of speaking to myself in a way that I’d never speak to anyone else.
It’s an awful habit, and I bet you do the same — at least sometimes.
Let’s change the nature of the conversations we have with ourselves. Let’s be kinder and more honest — because our Inner Dickhead’s job is to find the negative.
We put far more weight on negatives than positives. In 2001, Professor Baumeister professor of social psychology at Florida State University, wrote an article for The Review of General Psychology called “Bad is Stronger Than Good”, and noted that it takes five positive experiences to make up for one negative one.
Go out of your way to find the positive. Every time you get a negative review or someone says something mean or your Inner Dickhead pipes up to undermine your confidence, go in search of a positive.
When my Inner Dickhead tells me I’m a terrible writer and I should just give up and get a job stacking shelves, I make a note — then I go and dig out a bunch of positive reviews and testimonials. I read something I’m proud of. I remind myself that although sometimes I write absolute crap, that doesn’t make me a terrible writer.
Your Inner Dickhead does not want you to write a book.
Mine didn’t want me to write books.
But your Inner Superhero does.
Your Inner Dickhead doesn’t want to risk people criticising you. It doesn’t want you to look foolish and it doesn’t want to fail. All totally understandable… and all unfounded.
Your Inner Superhero, though, does want you to stick your neck out and give it a try. Because your Inner Superhero understands that although bad things might happen, they probably won’t — and good things will only happen if you’re brave enough to give it a go.
Don’t let your Inner Dickhead stop you from writing the book that’s inside you. It could change everything — for you, and for your readers.
Want to write a book but not sure where to start? Start with my new book, which you can grab here during the official launch period (and snaffle some fantastic bonuses and cool free gifts).
If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.
Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write life-changing books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she's not doing that, she's hanging from a trapeze by her feet.
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