July 13, 2005
Internal factors are reactions that you create inside yourself in response to the world. Even though they happen inside you, it’s best to think about them as behaviors because they are actions that you choose. By choosing how to perceive yourself, you can either behave your way to success or behave your way to failure. For example, if you believe you are competent and special, you will live up to that truth. If you believe you are incompetent and worthless, you will live down to that truth.
The powerful internal factors that shape your self-concept are:
Internal Dialogue: This is the continuous conversation that you have with yourself about everything that happens to you. This dialogue is constant, happens in real time (at the same rate at which you would speak the words aloud), and provokes a physiological change (with each thought comes a physical reaction).
Labeling: Humans tend to organize things into categories. We even categorize other humans by labeling them into groups, subgroups, classes and functions. But were you aware that we label ourselves? For better or worse, these labels have a powerful impact on our perception of self because we tend to “live” the categories we’ve attached to ourselves (“I’m a loser” or “I’m a winner.”)
Tapes: These are beliefs that have become so deeply ingrained that they “play” automatically in our heads and influence our behavior without our awareness. Unlike labels (“I never win”), tapes have context: “I won’t get the promotion because I never win.” Tapes are dangerous and potentially self-defeating because they have the power to set you up for a specific outcome.
Fixed Beliefs / Limiting Beliefs: Fixed beliefs are the beliefs we hold about ourselves, others, and life’s circumstances that have been repeated for so long they have become ingrained and are difficult to change. Limiting beliefs are the beliefs we have about ourselves that limit what we reach for and achieve. They also cause us to block any conflicting (positive) information while confirming any new negative information.
Continue uncovering your authentic self with the complete exercises found in Self Matters.