A Book A Day Keeps Failures Away: ‘What To Say When You Talk To Yourself’ By Shad Helmstetter

Have you ever read a book that made you wish you’d read it earlier in your life and want to give a copy to everyone cherish? Well, that was me after reading ‘What To Say When You Talk To Yourself?’. 

If you are thinking, “Gosh, another nonsense self-help book”, I’m not gonna blame you. Perhaps you know how it feels to drown yourself in a sea of advice, suggestions, or “life hacks” and get so motivated, only to find yourself returning to the old routine after a day or two. Rinse and repeat. 

I was trapped in that endless cycle. After going through the process over and over again, I stopped being a self-help junkie. I gave away the books I had collected. Never in my life would I read those again, I thought. They didn’t work on me. 

That’s why I set ‘What To Say When You Talk To Yourself?’ away for months until I had nothing else to feed my brain. Glad I didn’t forget about it, since the book held the answers for all the questions. 

So, do you live with an inferiority complex? What planted it inside your mind, and how to get rid of the thought?

Everything lies inside Shad Helmstetter’s life-changing guide. 

About The Author Of This Book 

Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D., is a certified behavioral researcher and best-selling author. After graduating from Southwest University and obtaining a doctoral degree in motivational psychology, he began his research on the effect of self-talk. According to Helmstetter, it is a major programming source that guides our direction and personal productivity, and he discovered specific words and phrases that have the most influence in changing our self-belief. 

A Book A Day Keeps Failures Away: ‘What To Say When You Talk To Yourself’ By Shad Helmstetter
Dr. Shad Helmstetter is one of the first people to research self-talk – Source: Medium

In 1981, Helmstetter published the first authorized self-talk audio programs based on his study. That made him the pioneering dean in the field of internal dialogues. After the success, the author kept pursuing his career by publishing over 20 books and audios on personal development, including the classic ‘What To Say When You Talk To Yourself?’, the ‘365 Days Of Positive Self-Talk’ series, and the recent ‘The Power Of Neuroplasticity’. 

Nowadays, Dr. Helmstetter delivers speeches to hundreds of people each year, spreading his groundbreaking concepts to audiences worldwide. Additionally, his newest research into the mental foundations of success has greatly influenced human behavior studies. For three decades, Helmstetter has been on several radio and television shows, including Oprah Winfrey, ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN News, reaching millions of listeners and viewers.

Using Helmstetter’s clear and friendly writing style, What To Say When You Talk To Yourself brought the idea of self-talk to be general public, giving you a broad understanding of the science behind this method and how you can use it for your personal growth.

Mastering your self-talk and mind with Dr. Helmstetter

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‘What To Say When You Talk To Yourself?’ – A Summary 

As human beings, we struggle with self-esteem from time to time. Even the most successful individuals around us can suffer from a lack of confidence. In fact, low self-confidence is not your fault. Many factors contribute to it, such as cultural background, childhood experience, and other life circumstances. Over the course, those factors feed on our self-doubts, discourage us from taking risks and chasing our dreams. 

While we can’t change the experiences in the past that shaped who we are, we can boost our aplomb by changing the way we see and tell ourselves. That’s the premise of ‘What To Say When You Talk To Yourself?’

‘What To Say When You Talk To Yourself?’ - A Summary
You can get your copy of the book here – Source: Amazon

Negative Thoughts Can Distort Your Self-Image 

To begin, Shad Helmstetter spends the first few chapters of ‘What To Say When You Talk To Yourself?’ analyzing each person’s self-belief system. He points out what contributes to our self-doubt and ways of thinking that prevent us from achieving success. Most importantly, sometimes you feed yourself negative thoughts without even realizing it. 

Over time, this kind of negative self-talk convinces you that you can’t perform tasks you are fully capable of. Examples include Henry Head and Gordon Morgan Holmes’ experiments in the early 1900s. The pair tracked women who wore those large hats and discovered that even when they did not have hats on, they would still hide behind doors. Patients with severe eating disorders, likewise, change how they see themselves completely. Some of them even turn to their sides as they get past doorways, even when there is plenty of space to walk through. 

In a nutshell, by altering how we perceive ourselves, our minds changed how we react and interact with our surroundings. Practicing self-talk can help you achieve a more realistic self-image. 

How To Change The Way You Talk To Yourself? 

In the next chapters, Helmstetter explains the problem with positive thinking and why it is often short-lived. It’s linked to the mindset that is programmed in our subconscious mind. This old mindset prevents you from absorbing new and positive beliefs, thus make you slip back into the comfortable path of negative thinking. Remember what I said about getting momentarily so motivated after reading a self-help book then reverting to the old life after a few days or two? It just works the same way. 

Next, the author breaks down the right way to self-conversate so you can override your negative programming and replace it with conscious, positive directions. According to him, to reach the most effective form of self-talk, you gotta look inside yourself and say “I am…”, instead of “I need to…” or “I should…”. For example, you can say “I’m organized and in control of my life. I’m going for it.” 

If you want to sustain this belief, you need to practice every day using three methods: Silent self-speak, self-conversation, and self-write. When you repeatedly reinforce your positive thinking, it will eventually change your subconscious mind. 

The author also highlights the importance of self-compassion. When you talk to yourself like someone you love, you will feel more empowered, calm, hopeful, and resilient. 

Unlike Other Self-Help Methods, Self-Talk Is Permanent And Can Be Mesured

Unlike Other Self-Help Methods, Self-Talk Is Permanent And Can Be Mesured
Changing the way you talk to yourself will create lasting effects – Source: Unsplash

If you think that self-talk is just another temporary motivation (that won’t last for more than a week), or some self-hypnosis con, you will be pleasantly surprised. Shad Helmstetter pointed out that self-talk is a way to address your unhealthy behavior or habits from within, where there is no societal judgment. Therefore, it will last for a lifetime, and external factors won’t influence you. A 2018 study confirms that self-directed change is the only kind of lasting reform people can achieve. 

At the end of ‘What To Say When You Talk To Yourself?’, the author emphasizes that you can complete some positive self-talk right now. This method can be applied anywhere, in any situation. We subconsciously talk to ourselves all the time, and you can take advantage of your internal dialogues to implant motivative thoughts. 

A Brief Review Of ‘What To Say When You Talk To Yourself?’ 

A Brief Review Of ‘What To Say When You Talk To Yourself?’
The self-talk method can help you reach your full potential and create the life you deserve – Source: Unsplash

Considering that the book was written in 1986, many of the chapters remind me of the old saying “nothing new under the sun”. It discusses the image we have of ourselves, which is a self-help theme that’s still relevant to this day, in a very spot-on way. At first glance, you might assume that ‘What To Say When You Talk To Yourself?’ contains only common sense. Still, like new wine in old bottles, the book introduces strategies and methods to overcome yourself that you can’t find anywhere like it’s much more effective to talk to yourself in the present tense. 

Shad Helmstetter wrote ‘What To Say When You Talk To Yourself?’ in a conversational tone, making it friendly and relevant. Even though it contains research regarding neuroplasticity, you would still find the book comprehensive. In addition, the author provides many examples of negative self-talk and positive phrases to tell yourself in different circumstances. That makes it easier to point and sort out the negatives, and modify how you talk to yourself. 

Although the scientific evidence is fascinating and the ideas have merit, Helmstetter insists that we are not allowed to express anything unpleasant. Personally, I don’t quite agree with this point. All the emotions – from positive ones like happiness or satisfaction to negative ones such as sad, mad, and critical – make us human beings. Negative feelings are there to let us know that something is wrong and motivate us to change. It is better to embrace the fact that you are not feeling alright, pinpoint the reasons, and receive the message they are sending us before letting go of them and move forward. 

The book would be a game-changer for those who:
  • Desperately want to improve themselves and get the best of life, but always end up in the same place. 
  • Want to get rid of some bad habits but lose motivation quickly and cannot achieve their goals
  • Struggle with low self-esteem or can’t let go of past events. 
  • Have tried countless self-help guides and blog posts about changing your life, but nothing seems to work. 

Similar Books For You To Get Inspired

Similar Books For You To Get Inspired
These books will help you get the confidence and motivation you need – Source: Unsplash

Success With A Positive Mental Attitude

Written by Napoleon Hill and W.Clement Stone, ‘Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude’ is one of the self-help classics that discusses the role of one’s mind in achieving goals. This book consists of the world’s greatest people’s journeys towards success, what kind of ups and downs they faced along the way, and how they dealt with them all.

Aside from a positive way of thinking, the book highlights character as the foundation of success, which I admire. Dishonesty and the lack of integrity will only lead to unsatisfying achievements. Nowadays, many people believe that they don’t need a good character to be wealthy and honored. ‘Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude’ will remind you that even in an unjust society, you will always be rewarded if you maintain your moral principles. 

Success With A Positive Mental Attitude
Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude – Source: Amazon

The Magic Of Thinking Big

According to Goodreads members, ‘The Magic Of Thinking Big’ is one of the most influential self-help books of all time. The overall theme of the book is familiar: You don’t have to be incredibly gifted to be successful, you just have to think in a way that cultivates success. Still, the book offers some smart and interesting lessons.

One of the points that stuck with me is that every big change requires a repetition of small, seemingly simple steps. As the author wrote, “progress is made one step at a time. A house is built one brick at a time. Football games are won a play at a time… Every big accomplishment is a series of little accomplishments.” It is always smart to remind yourself that dreams can only come true when you take action, but that action doesn’t need to be grand. 

The Magic Of Thinking Big
The Magic Of Thinking Big – Source: Amazon

See You At The Top 

Featuring advice on how to succeed, ‘See You At The Top’ shows you how to develop a strong attitude foundation. It also emphasizes the importance of having a positive self-image and demonstrates how to build such an image. After reading the book, you will know why goals are essential, as well as how to set and reach them. 

The book is well-written and easy to digest. Zig Ziglar delivers his lessons through short stories and personal experiences, all of which are relatable for readers. Ziglar also has a unique sense of humor that can make you laugh out loud while getting motivated at the same time. A must-read for everyone who’s willing to see the world from a different lens! 

See You At The Top
See You At The Top – Source: The Inspiring Journal

Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement

‘Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement’ is a good starter book for people seeking to improve themselves and their life situation. It doesn’t only teach you how to communicate with yourself that brings out the best in you every single day. The book also highlights how to communicate with others and build meaningful relationships. 

Tony Robbins based this book on the latest findings of Neuro-linguistic programming​​ (NLP) and shared some practical ways to apply them. I like how the author breaks the methods down into small steps so you can make changes gradually and keep track of your achievement. However, the book is quite technical and you might struggle to comprehend the concept at times. If you want to give ‘Unlimited Power’ a try, I suggest research a bit about NLP before purchasing. 

Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement
Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement – Source: Amazon

Looking for other books about confidence? Check out these 18 top-rated books on Amazon that will fill your life with positivity! 

Final Advice: Don’t Just Read! 

With narrative anecdotes, carefully explained research, and pragmatic examples, ‘What To Say When You Talk To Yourself?’ is full of motivational advice based on psychology that you can easily apply in your own life. This is the kind of book that you can read to learn and actually apply, not to be temporarily reassured. 

The key to use Shad Helmstetter to your advantage is not to be a passive consumer of information, but to put what you’ve learned into practice and create something new. The more you learn, implement, and create from this book, the better your world will become. Do yourself a huge favor and get this book, it will serve as your gateway to countless opportunities! 

Finding good books to read can be troublesome at times, so let us help you with that! Head to our Career Advice section and discover our list of unputdownable recommendations! 

Iris Vida

Well, Iris Vida is very into reading books from different eras, cultures, and anything that has been going viral lately, etc. Her passions can't be put in a few words only. Whether it's the "Jazz Age," a Neil Gaiman notable novel, the pitter-patter melodies of Taylor Swift's music, or anything else, she always sends the best materials to her top-notch writings, engaging all readers everywhere. Moreover, like Nick Carraway, who captured global attention with his rich and glamorous look, she leaves readers with a satisfying sense of wonder and an urge to learn more with her compelling writing style.