The Inner Game

Jul 06, 2021
Woman overthinking

Recently one of my clients was about to make a very big professional decision based only on how she was feeling and thinking about her work situation. Her mind was made up until we unpacked what she was thinking. Her decision was completely based on assumptions and unclear communication, which created insecurity and low trust in the organisation. Her 'inner game' of thinking was leading her down a path that would completely change the trajectory of her career.

Back in January 2019 Michael Hall Ph.D. wrote,

"The quality of your thinking determines the quality of your life.  There’s a reason for this.  It is because thinking— both what and how you think— governs everything.  It governs your communications to others as it governs your communications to yourself.  It governs your emotional states which, in turn, govern your skills and performances.  It governs your ability to solve the problems that life throws at you and your flexibility in adjusting.

With this, undoubtedly everyone has poor thinking habits, sometimes more or less, at different times of our lives. These habits can lead to sub-optimal beliefs and actions thereby making life unnecessarily stressful and miserable.  And all along, you may not even be aware of your thinking or your thinking habits because they are usually not conscious. Poor thinking habits can make your life miserable— broken marriages, ruined friendships, unhealthy addictions, bad financial decisions. "

Things happen when we fail to effectively think through things or do effective information processing. Have you ever:
  • Assumed that you know what others are thinking or intending?
  • Think you are a good mind reader?
  • Over-reacted when someone pushes your buttons (triggered something within you) and adapted the story based on what you believe happened?
  • Assessed probabilities incorrectly so you think your chances are higher than they actually are?

We are constantly fighting with the voice in our head

The voice that’s giving us commands and instructions, making judgments about us, or think of it like 'the know it all' that doesn’t trust you.  In his book, The Inner Game of Work, W. Timothy Gallwey, calls the voice in your head Self 1 and you Self 2. He says that Self 1 is trying to control Self 2’s behaviour using tactics it had learned from its teachers in the outside world. For example, commonly parents make innocent comments that refer to our strengths like 'you are not great at maths you  better to focus on sport'. Over time, your thinking will encourage you to avoid jobs that are numbers focused, like accounting, because you think your math skills are not good enough you will not explore the possibilities.

Issues begin when we start to believe in this inner voice, this way of thinking, which we make meaning of based on our past experiences. When we think the same thoughts for long enough, they become a belief, which then becomes a part of our character and our personality. They become a subconscious habit of thinking.

Here is a little exercise for you to try.

Become aware of your thinking and take a moment to  think about what you’re thinking about and explore the basis of what created your thinking – what evidence and facts do you have to question your thinking and then trusting yourself to make a decision to act on your conscious thinking and not unconscious habits of thinking.

Explore the inner game that you’re playing.

If you would like to know more contact me


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