Hi there,

What’s the Story?

In yesterday’s episode of the Changing Minds Podcast, we dove even deeper into the topic of mastering the inner voice. You can check it out here.

In other news, this is a week of travel for me where I’m back in Europe for a few days for a fun event for a corporate client. It’s not quite the 100 flights a year I used to do, but I’m getting used to flying regularly again.



How to Master Your Inner Voice

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes 47 seconds

One of the best insights I’ve ever gotten into how to think is the idea of speaking to yourself as opposed to talking to yourself. While both of these actions may seem similar there is an important difference.

If you think about the greatest communicators of all time, we often remember them because of a speech they gave. The idea is that speaking involves sending a message to an audience to impact many people at one time. Talking, on the other hand, is less proactive and more likely to describe conversations you have which depend on a back-and-forth interaction.

When you speak to yourself it feels much more deliberate. It evokes the idea that you can inspire yourself, engage yourself, entertain yourself, and influence yourself more effectively than simply ‘talking’ to yourself.

Today, I want to deep dive into what it means to master your inner voice. The way I like to think about it is learning to speak more effectively to yourself.

I also want to touch on the neuroscience of the inner voice, why we talk to ourselves in the first place and share specific strategies that you can use to speak better to you.


The Symphony of Self-Talk

What is often called our internal dialogue is much more of a multilogue. We have many inner voices that perform many different functions. These range from the inner critic to the catastrophizer, from the doubter to the dreamer.

Our inner voices shape our reality, color our perceptions, and influence our every action. We need to become the conductor of this internal symphony.

Recognizing these voices, understanding their origins, and learning to engage with them constructively is the first step toward mastery.

Once we know how they work, we can start executing control over them.

Why Do You Speak To Yourself

So, why do we have these inner voices? Well, our brains are wired for stories. From the dawn of consciousness, humans have used stories and narratives to make sense of the world around us. The inner voice we listen to is our personal storyteller. It interprets events, emotions, and our very identity.

Often, this voice adopts a critical tone, a habit built from evolutionary mechanisms designed to keep us safe but now more likely to hold us back.

The inner voice always tries to accomplish a specific goal. Most of the time, however, this goal doesn’t serve us. Instead, it is triggered by the specific emotion we are feeling. So we start to doubt ourselves and all of a sudden the inner critic or inner doubter gets elected to tell us why we probably (or definitely) won’t succeed. And it sounds like it has a handle on what’s really going on.

We need to realize that just because the inner voice is trying to achieve something does not mean that it is going about it the right way.

The Power of Self-Talk

The narratives we tell ourselves can have profound implications on our mental health, self-esteem, and overall well-being. Negative self-talk can trap us in a cycle of self-doubt while positive, constructive self-talk can lift us to new heights of personal success.

It’s important to try and understand the lesson from your inner voice. What is it trying to get you to do? Sometimes, this can help you. For instance, if you find yourself complaining about other people and you realize you are complaining because you don’t feel good enough compared to them… that’s useful information. It suggests that you need to work on yourself effectively and stop making comparisons like that.

Your inner voice tends to run on autopilot and the key is to take the controls. The emotions that we are feeling often determine which voice gets air time. When we think negative thoughts we’re likely to feel bad but also when we feel bad we’re likely to think negative thoughts.

This means one way to change the way we speak to ourselves is to change the way we feel. This, in turn, will trigger a different voice. There are three approaches to changing your emotions that instantly come to mind.

First, change your physiology. Get your body into a position you’d be in if you felt the way you want to feel. Adjust your breathing accordingly.

Second, visualize whatever makes you feel the way you want to feel and do so vividly.

Third, label your specific negative emotion, identify exactly how you are feeling, and articulate it precisely to yourself. This is known as emotional granularity and will help reduce the intensity of the negative feeling.

Each of these approaches can help you change the way you feel so that you can start speaking to yourself differently.

Let’s examine more strategies you can use to change the way you communicate with yourself.


Strategies for Mastering Your Inner Voice

Mastering your inner voice requires intentionality, practice, and a bit of creativity. Here are several strategies to guide you on this journey:

  • Meta Mantras

You can combat negative self-talk with powerful, thought-stopping mantras. Simple yet effective, phrases like “Enough!” or “Shut the XXXX up” can help redirect your internal narrative.

  • Ask Better Questions

When you replace self-criticism with curiosity, it changes the direction of your thinking. Asking yourself, “What can I learn from this?” or “How can this make me stronger?” transforms challenges into opportunities for growth.

  • Change the Tone of Your Inner Voice

Change the tone of your internal critic. Imagine it speaking in a ridiculous voice, stripping it of its power to affect you deeply.

  • Temporal and Third Person Distancing

You can use time to your advantage. Reframe thoughts from “I am a disaster” to “I was a disaster,” helping to create emotional distance and perspective. You can make it even better by using the third person. ‘I am a disaster’ changes to ‘Owen was a disaster’.

  • The Power of ‘But’

After acknowledging a negative thought, follow it with ‘but’ to introduce a positive spin. For example, “I’m not great at this, but I can improve with practice.”

  • Electing the Boss Voice

Choose a ‘boss voice,’ a voice of reason, encouragement, and strength that can guide the other voices toward a common goal of self-improvement and positivity. Think a ‘David Goggins boss voice’. If you don’t know who that is… you should.

  • Embrace Mindfulness

Practices like meditation and mindfulness help in observing your thoughts without judgment, allowing you to better control the narrative.

  • Speechless

Regularly seek experiences that evoke awe. The vastness of nature, art, or human achievement can make your negative internal conversation stop in its tracks.

  • Influence Inputs

Surround yourself with positive influences, be it people, media, or activities. Your environment significantly impacts your internal dialogue.

Building a Better Future

No matter what we do, we will always talk to ourselves. The question is what will we start saying to ourselves and what will we listen to? The more we focus on taking charge of what goes on between our ears, the more likely we will be to build the life we want.

The strategies I’ve shared above are designed to help you build new habits of self-talk and elect the boss voice of your mind.

In the grand narrative of your life, be the author of new stories for yourself so you can become empowered to succeed in your life and become a leader of your mind.



The Brain Prompt

Take this week and pay attention to the chatter inside your head. Notice the different things you say to yourself and even what kinds of voices you use. Jot this down. The first step to taking charge of your mind is to learn what’s going on there already. Then you can do something different.

​If you know someone who would benefit from this newsletter, please pass it on. They can sign up at owenfitzpatrick.com/newsletter.



P.S. I go even deeper into this topic in this week’s Changing Minds podcast episode – the first episode of season five! Watch it here.





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