You become who you think you are.

By David Joel Miller.

What you tell yourself about you comes true.


Becoming who you can be.
Photo courtesy of

Are you a great fortune-teller or do you just specialize in self-fulfilling prophecies?

People like to tell themselves things about the future. They sometimes think by predicting the future they are protecting themselves from disappointment. The truth is you may be creating your own disappointment.

One of the surest ways to snatch defeat out of the grasp of victory is to tell yourself constantly that something bad will happen. Give your brain enough of this message and it works hard to create the failure you predicted.

Say you can’t and you can’t.

We hear a lot about the power of positive thinking. There is truth to that. If you think you can do things you get more done. We tell kids the story of “The Little Engine that Could” for a reason. Belief in yourself makes things happen.

Team leaders that inspire optimism in their teams reach more goals. Leaders know that telling their followers “they can” helps create accomplishments. Tell your people they have no chance and the effort ends.

Negative thoughts prevent things.

What we miss sometimes is that negative thoughts are just as powerful, maybe more powerful than positive ones.

Telling yourself you will fail inhibits any effort to succeed. Say you can’t often enough and your brain will start believing you. You can influence yourself to sabotage your efforts.

Think about a team and the half-time locker-room talk. Does the coach say don’t be concerned? I knew we were going to lose so don’t bother to put in any more effort? What a good coach does in inspire his team to believe in themselves.

Winners don’t just hope they will prevail they see themselves already having won. Those who plan on returning home empty-handed do not stand on the victory platform.

Be your own coach, expect you can do more than you know at this point in your life and then go out and make it happen.

Say no one likes you and you become difficult to like.

If you expect people to dislike you, the natural behavior would be to treat that person curtly. Why waste your time on people who do not like you? But if you expect everyone to dislike you this makes it hard for them to get past your wall and get to know you.

Expect the world to be full of enemies and you will find them. Believe that there are lots of friends out there, you just haven’t met them yet, and every day is another chance to meet that friend you do not yet know.

Start by liking yourself. To improve your self-esteem do more things and some of them have to work out. Ignore your less than perfect events and focus on your accomplishments. If you have had difficulties in your life and still showed up and tried, how have you been able to do that? Focus on your strengths and you will become stronger.

Saying you are dumb prevents learning.

Students who think they are dumb study less. They do not become excited about learning and they learn less. We repeatedly see adult learners who return to school after many years away and then they begin to study something that interests them. They commonly do better than they expected. Learning is very much about attitude. If you like what you are studying and you expect to learn it, the learning comes more easily.

What do you tell yourself about you?

Many people spend life thinking very unhelpful thoughts. If you say you will be lonely you create that isolation. Say you are on a quest to find a good friend and you will begin to meet new interesting people. Believe in yourself and search in new places. You may find a better you and a happier life just around the corner.

If you expect unhappiness you will look everywhere for it. If you expect to find happiness you may be surprised at how often it is waiting there along your life path for you to stop and recognize it.

Is it time for you to toss the unhelpful thoughts and start practicing the new useful thought patterns? Who do you want to be? Focus on this. Practice thinking you are there and then move forward.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books


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