June 14, 2020
Writers are perhaps the most eccentric people in newsrooms, film studios and marketing agencies. Those who have worked in said industries know it’s quite common to see writers reading their own work out loud. Some view this as strange behavior. But every writer is taught in journalism or English school to read your work out loud to identify structural and grammar issues. Research shows all those English teachers and journalism instructors were on to something.
A 2012 study published in the journal Acta Psychologica gave 28 human subjects a set of written instructions for a task. Half of the group was told to read them silently. The other half was told to read the instructions out loud. The latter group scored higher on both concentration and performance tests. Researchers concluded that auditory commands influence human behavior more than written commands.
We see it all the time in sports. Muhammad Ali is the most famous positive self-talker in history. Not only did he tell you “I am the greatest” on a regular basis, but also went out and proved it with the same frequency. Many of the greatest athletes of all-time literally talked their ways to greatness.
The Utah Jazz Hall of Fame big-man used to say something out loud at the free throw line before releasing the shot.
Nobody understood the words he was saying at the time. But “The Mail Man” made only 48% of his free throws as a rookie and 60% his second year. He knew those number had to improve for him to become, arguably, the greatest power forward ever. Malone shot below 70% on free throw only once from his third year forward – 69.4% season in the 1993-94 season.
Keith Henschen, a sports psychology professor at the University of Utah, worked as a consultant for the Utah Jazz in the 1980s and 1990s. He revealed in 2002 that Malone sought his help early in his career. Malone was saying, “This is for Kay [his wife] and the baby,” according to Henschen. Speaking those words prepared Malone mentally to make free throws.
Tennis fans know that self-talk is ubiquitous in the sport. Eight-time Grand Slam Singles champion Andre Agassi provided a first-hand explanation as to why so many professional tennis players talk to themselves out on the court.
Tennis is the loneliest of sports. In golf, you play the course – plus you have a caddie – and the game ends at 18 holes. In boxing, you have a corner man and a set number of rounds. In tennis, you’re on an island, with no clock. You can’t sit on a lead. You have to win the last point to win a match. You’re out there, you can’t talk to anybody, you can’t pass the ball, there are no time-outs. There’s no coaching, you don’t have to be good, you have to be better than one person and that one person is on the other side of the net.
Andre Agassi via “Open: An Autobiography” (2009)
Pete Sampras won 14 Grand Slam Singles Titles in his career, fourth all-time in the men’s bracket. He held the world number-1 ranking for 286 weeks, second only to Roger Federer. Positive self-talk was a big part of his success. Sampras was known for saying aloud motivational things like, “I need to let go of that last point and focus on the next point” while on the court. “Everything is ok” was another frequent phrase Sampras used for positive self-talk.
Alpha males and positive self-talk
The ALPHA by Prodigy Mindset Gym™ emphasizes positive self-talk in achieving conscious command. The alpha brain wavelength and controlling that level of consciousness is essential for successful, confident men. We are what we tell ourselves we are. Consistent repetitions on the bench press yield stronger pectoral muscles. The brain needs those same consistent repetitions to maximize potential.
Learn more about the ALPHA by Prodigy Mindset Gym™ today.