A Wiser Adviser

Chapter 5 of the book Self-Help Stuff That Works

by Adam Khan:

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED how wise you are when you give advice to a person younger than you? You aren't fooling yourself. You really have gained some wisdom over the years. Have you ever wished you could be that wise when you had troubles? You can. You can talk to yourself like a "Dutch uncle."

Randall Masciana, M.S., tried to find out what kind of mental strategy would improve a person's performance when throwing darts. Masciana had the participants try everything from mental imagery to Zen. What worked best for improving the dart thrower's ability to hit the target was "positive self-talk."

Simply talking to yourself in a confident, reassuring, positive, friendly way makes a difference. It may be trite. It may be old. But it works, and it works better than anything else.

When things get tough, keep your thoughts prominent. Turn up the volume of your inner voice so you can hear it clearly and coach yourself. If you don't know what to say, imagine a friend of yours or your little brother in the same situation and say to yourself what you would say to them.

Another way of knowing what to say to yourself is to ask yourself what someone you admire would say to you: Abraham Lincoln, a professor, your grandmother - whomever you admire for her or his wisdom and strength of character. Imagine asking the person for advice and imagine what s/he might say to you.

You know more about your own situation than anyone else, so your advice to yourself is in some ways more useful than anyone else's. You are wise. If you would only talk to yourself and listen, your life would be better.

Talk to yourself in a confident,reassuring, positive way.This simple, practical technique is not positive-thinking hype. Most successful people in any field, from professors to athletes, do something similar before a performance. It is potent and helpful. Share it with your friends. Even if they know it already, it will be a helpful reminder. Most of us know what to do but don't often do what we know. Why? We forget. Let's remind each other. Copy the address from the top of your browser and paste it into an email message to your friends. Let's make this a better world

Have you read the introduction to Self-Help Stuff That Works? Here it is:


Here's a conversational chapter on optimism from a future book:
Conversation on Optimism

If worry is a problem for you, or even if you would like to simply worry less even though you don't worry that much, you might like to read this:
The Ocelot Blues

next: Honest Abe

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 26). A Wiser Adviser, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Last Updated: March 30, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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