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Tracy Winchell

Evidence-based tools for improving relationships you can implement immediately

published3 months ago
2 min read

Hey Reader,

Name one challenge you would pursue if you could flip that 😈 voice in your head. Instead of taunting you, self-talk would coach you toward and through the challenge. 😇

Negative self-talk crushes confidence, ruins self-respect, and wrecks your ability to reason and respond appropriately to challenges.

Your inability to stick to habits you want to do negatively impacts self-esteem, so you will also experience a deep dive into the science of habit.

Through September, you will learn surprising research findings about both of these life skills -- through four of my favorite books.


Back-to-School Book Club Preview

As we sneak into September, you will learn science-backed applications for caging your monkey mind through:

  1. Self-talk training (also applicable to relationships)
  2. Tiny habits to improve self-confidence

Week 1: Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It, Ethan Kross

Week 2: Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking, Jon Acuff

Week 3: Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything, BJ Fogg

Week 4: Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results, James Clear

Let's dive in.


Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It

Author: Ethan Kross, Psychologist

Expertise: Researcher specializing In controlling the conscious mind

Book summary: Overarching Principles

  1. Simple skills backed by research can help you the moment you implement one or more.
  2. Lucky charms can be surprisingly helpful in moderation (not the cereal)
  3. Self-talk is a superpower until it crosses to the Dark Side
  4. Coaching others through chatter hones our ability to manage chatter
  5. Our environment plays a surprising role in our ability to quiet negative self-talk
  6. We cannot -- and should not -- live in the present 100% of the time (Exploiting our ability to time travel is a superpower)
  7. Allowing ourselves to be victims of our negative thoughts is ultimately a choice

Kross' research-backed tools for managing chatter will help you:

  • Improve your relationships with others.
  • Become a better listener and coach.
  • Understand and access time travel when it is helpful.
  • Remember that not all self-talk is not necessarily "bad."

How to support someone who is struggling with the negative voice in their heads

  1. Do not try to solve someone's problem before they ask or invite help. According to Kross, doing so undermines self-efficacy, which is "the crucial belief that we are capable of managing challenges."
  2. Provide invisible support by taking on extra chores or making someone's life less stressful.

Why you should read this book:

I hope this overview of Chatter by Ethan Kross has helped you even if you don't read the book.

Here's why I think you consider reading this helpful tome.

Humans can engage in helpful self-conversations. Learning to harness our thoughts is a necessary superpower. Otherwise, self-talk turns to chatter that can sabotage our lives and our happiness.

Quick observations:

  • Chatter is an easy read. Not only does he share conclusions from years of research. He also explains the methodology in an easy-to-understand way.
  • Kross is vulnerable in disclosing how the negative voice in his head has led him to take ridiculous and hilarious actions.
  • Real-world applications of Kross' findings are easily implemented with your spouses, children, employees, and friends.

I hope you found at least one tactic to implement today.

Next Week: Soundtracks, Jon Acuff

Acuff is one of my favorite authors. He works with a researcher who takes Jon's big idea and collects data from a thousand or more people to:

  • See if the idea is a big problem
  • Understand how it impacts them
  • Brainstorm and experiment with simple steps to help you manage the problem

If you liked this book review format, would you please let me know? Your response will help me decide whether or not to do more of these as we close in on 2023.

As always, thank you for reading and responding. I love hearing from you.

-Tracy