Raise your hand if you think affirmations are a pile of mystical poop.
If your hand is in the air, I completely understand. I used to ignore them like junk mail from the Prince of Nigeria. [I will continue to ignore until he offers me a bigger cut of that 50 million dollar inheritance!]
I mean come on. All I need to do is just listen to a voice tell me sweet and sexy things and then suddenly I’ll transform into the Hulk? Yeah right! The Nigerian Prince’s story is more believable than that.
But then again, a lot of people I know swear by them. Let’s dive a bit deeper to see what the craze is all about.
What is an affirmation?
It’s control. What you do when you listen to affirmations or say them out loud is take a deliberate control over your thoughts.
Okay, so what’s the significance of this?
Well, Dr. Shad Helmstetter says the following in his excellent book What To Say When You Talk To Yourself:
That’s when we leave our thoughts up to chance.
What’s even more amazing is that the default direction of our thoughts seems to be purely negative. I wish they'd naturally gravitate toward the positive, don’t you?
I’m scared mommy.
How do affirmations work?
Let’s bring back the fact that the majority of our thoughts flat out suck. What affirmations do is start to put a reversal on that trend.
So instead of aimlessly wandering and allowing our thoughts and fears to control us (like they can at the mere thought of public speaking), there is a way to patch up the thin spots in our wall of confidence---affirmations.
Pretty handy when it comes to dealing with the fear of public speaking.
Not only do they give you instant motivation the same way that a motivational song or speech can, but they work to continually cram layer after layer of that very same motivation into your subconscious mind. Basically, they work to brainwash you. It's for a good cause!
Over time this can start to tip the scale in your favor...or at least in the direction that your affirmations are focusing in on. After all, negative affirmations are just as effective. Think about our internal critics. They don't always tell us nice things, do they?
I’ll end this section with another passage from What To Say When You Talk To Yourself, because it illustrates exactly why affirmations work:
When should you use affirmations?
I prefer the all around life approach of changing your mindset toward fear, whether it’s fear of criticism, failure, making mistakes, etc.
In other words, focusing on building your self-confidence in everyday life situations rather than just working to build your on-stage confidence, is a better strategy.
It’s important, of course, to have your own system for calming nerves right before you’re about to speak. That’s a given. Affirmations can definitely be a part of that pre-speech system.
But it can also be a part of the overall cure for fear and insecurity.
Since we’re surrounded by negativity (news media, the haters, our internal critics, etc.) we're constantly being bombarded with depressing crap. We spend much less time actually standing in front of an audience being all vulnerable, so I believe that’s why the fear of public speaking is a more memorable (euphemism alert!) experience.
Yet, once we strengthen our thoughts about ourselves (by using affirmations daily as an example), calming nerves just before a speech becomes an easier task.
So, again, when should you listen to affirmations? Morning. Night. Right before you head out to a speaking opportunity. Those sound pretty good to me.
Where can you get them?
Glad you asked.
I’ve actually put together an affirmation track specifically for combating the most common negative thoughts that come to us as a result of public speaking fear. It’s formulated based on all the things that a speaker needs to be, and feel inside, in order to be a witch's brew of confidence.
I guess we could stop the flood of negative thoughts by locking ourselves in a nuke-retardant bunker with nothing to connect us to the outside world. Not quite practical, though. In fact, Helmstetter adds this gem when it comes to using self-help techniques:
So then, why would something beneficial not get used?
Time is a serious issue and it’s a huge reason that we don’t follow through with these types of “happy-jolly-think-positive” techniques. That’s why I narrowed this affirmation track down to 5 minutes. That's right, just 5 minutes of the most focused phrases aimed at thickening your mental meat suit. Go here and get them absolutely free.
Another reason we’d avoid doing something that could truly help us is if it’s too difficult to use. Simplicity is our friend; complexity is a form of intimidation used by con-artists and politicians.
There's nothing complicated about passive listening.
Try them out and brainwash the heck out of yourself.
Share this post and help cure the world of fear.
About this guy...
Howdy! My name is Matt Kramer and I used to suffer excruciating death when speaking in front of a group, now I LOVE it. Overcoming this fear has changed my life and it can change yours, too. My focus is to help you overcome the fear of public speaking so you can build the confidence to go after what you want in life.