The Power in Ignoring the Negative Voices
We all hear the voices in our minds, and we usually hear them when we’re alone. They wait until they sense a vulnerable opening, and then they become louder and louder. These voices can infect our ability to believe in ourselves. The voices creep from our subconscious mind to our conscious mind like thieves in the night. They begin as whispers, and before you know it, they turn into loud shouts.
These are the negative voices that tend to pick at ourselves, and for many of us, we underestimate these voices. As a matter of fact, often these voices disguise themselves as humorous little personal barbs. You’ve heard them:
- When you stub your toe, they can sound something like this: “Really? Have you lost your ability to walk into a room without hurting yourself?”
One whisper from that negative voice seems harmless enough, but that voice is not harmless, and never stops at just one jab. It picks up steam, and waits for its next opportunity:
- When you can’t figure out an answer to a question, that voice might say this: “Oh, come on now; even you can figure this out.”
- When you get lost or confused, that voice might say something like this: “Maybe you should tattoo the answer to your hand because you can’t seem to remember anything anymore.”
Related: Choose The Pursuit of Imperfection
You might think that those negative voices are just teasing you, or perhaps just trying to be funny, but think about it: Do you really think these voices are harmless and can’t damage your self confidence? After all, they’re your voices, and more often then not, they are actually spoken out loud by you. The voices gain steam and can get meaner and meaner:
- When you feel defeated, they can sound something like this: “You aren’t good enough to win.”
- When you feel lonely, they can sound something like this: “You deserve to be alone.”
- When you feel insecure, they can sound something like this: “You aren’t good enough to succeed.”
It’s difficult to fight back while the voices hide in your subconscious, but the moment they move to the conscious mind, you can choose to not listen. You can certainly choose not to say these thoughts out loud.
In the movie, “A Beautiful Mind,” Professor John Nash is asked about the tormenting and self-deprecating things he sees and hears. He says, “I’ve gotten used to ignoring them and I think, as a result, they’ve kind of given up on me. I think that’s what it’s like with all our dreams and our nightmares… we’ve got to keep feeding them for them to stay alive.”
We all hear the negative voices, but there are positive voices you can you choose to listen to, and these are the voices I’d encourage you to feed. These are the voices that tell you that anyone can stub a toe, or struggle with an answer to a question, or get lost, or feel defeated, lonely, or insecure. It’s part of the human condition, and it’s a part of being alive. It’s also a part of being kinder to you, and that contributes to believing in yourself.
NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work
Written by: Jon Sabes
When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward.
However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:
- He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
- He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
- When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
- While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
- In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.
Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.
Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.
His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”
When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”
On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.
“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”
That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing. Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.
Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”
When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it. He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.
I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.
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