Take Your Internal Pep Talks Up a Notch with Tips From ‘Chatter’

You probably know about the benefits of positive self-talk, but have you mastered it? If not — or if you’ve never heard that phrase — “Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It” by Ethan Kross may be the most important book you read in 2022.

Positive self-talk is something most of us engage in daily. It’s the “you can do this” nudge you give yourself to combat dark thoughts like “I don’t know what I’m doing” and “no one will take me seriously” before a big presentation. But few resources give you precise strategies for how to engage in positive self-talk effectively so you can make those negative impulses go away.

“Chatter” is an exception to the rule, perhaps because it was written by an actual psychologist! Leaning heavily on scientific research and engaging case studies, Kross offers concrete tips for reducing negative thoughts (what he calls “chatter”) and giving your self-confidence a boost. One of his biggest tips, which drives a big chunk of the book, is the importance of creating “mental distance” during your internal pep talks.

Mental distance is exactly what it sounds like — stepping back mentally from your worries and problems so you can gain a new perspective. Kross goes over several ways to do this, including trying to “look back” at your current situation from one, five, or 10 years later; comparing this hurdle to tougher ones in your life; and shifting your internal monologue to third person so you can try talking to yourself as if you were your own friend. With these strategies, we can transform our thoughts, rather than avoid them.

Of course, those suggestions just scratch the surface of what’s offered in the book. Kross also goes over how to help your friends, colleagues, and employees eliminate chatter, and how mastering your inner voice will help you thrive under pressure. The magazine Inc. named “Chatter” one of the “4 Business Books That Will Accelerate Your Success In 2022” — don’t miss it.