AC4P with Dr. Scott Geller 006 | Self-Talk

I won't lie. The past month has been hard. For some of you, it may have been more than the past month. Throughout this pandemic, and quarantine, it has been easy to get down on ourselves and feel as though our lives have come to a halt. This week, Dr. Geller talks to us about the intense power in which the manner we speak to ourselves plays into our day-to-day lives. Is there a way for us to "talk" ourselves out of our slumps?


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Dr. Scott Geller (00:23):
Let's talk about the motivational power of words, our language. Do you talk to yourself? Of course you do. Do you build yourself up or do you tear yourself down? Let's talk about how the very words we use to talk to ourselves and to talk to others can influence our motivation. Either improve it or not. Someone says good morning, and you say, what good is it? Or someone says, how's your job? And they say, it's a pain in the neck. How does that language affect both persons? The person who said good morning, and you say, what good is it? That affects both of you. So really it's about our language. How do you talk? When someone gives you an assignment, do you say to yourself, you got to do it or you get to do it? Is it something you have to do? Or is it an opportunity again?

Dr. Scott Geller (01:35):
How you talk to yourself, influences how you feel, how motivated you are now. I've been working in the field of safety for years, and I've been very disappointed in the language we use. When we talk about safety, for example, the word accident, what does that imply? It implies chance. It implies you can't control it. The three-year-old comes into a room. You saw something funny. He had an accident in his pants. What did you mean? He couldn't help it. Okay. Maybe that's true in that situation. But when you talk about that traffic crash in terms of an accident, that's the wrong language that implies lack of control. How about the term seatbelt folks? It's not a seatbelt. It used to be, it used to be a lap belt and then it was a seatbelt. Then we turned it into was turned into a shoulder belt and a lap belt.

Dr. Scott Geller (02:38):
But how about just using the word safety? It's a safety belt. It's a life belt again. How we talk will influence how we feel in might influence in this case, whether you want to buckle up or not. It's just a seat belt. How about people who say safety is our number one priority? What does that mean? What does that mean? I get on an airplane and the flight attendant says safety is our number one priority. Yardi. What's wrong with that language? Well, I'll tell you priorities change. You got your priorities in the morning. Yes, you have your routine, but suppose the alarm goes off later. Great. And you don't have to have as much time to get ready. Do you change your priorities? Maybe you won't do those stretching exercises. Maybe you'll skip breakfast. The point, his priorities change, but safety does it. You know, regardless of how much time you have to get ready for work in the morning, there's something you do every time.

Dr. Scott Geller (03:47):
You never miss it. What am I talking about? There's not a priority every day time. You might not brush your teeth. You might not have breakfast. Those are priorities, but you know what? You put on clothes. You cover-up. That's not a priority. That's a value. That's what safety needs to be connected to every one of your priorities. Again, I'm just trying to suggest to you that how we talk, our language can influence. We do how we feel. So let's talk more about motivation. Let's talk about the need to feel in control. Again, the word accident puts us out of control. Let's talk about the need to feel a sense of autonomy. Okay? So someone says, change your behavior. What's a better word. I hope to improve. I hope you will improve your behavior. Just the word change versus improve. How about the word peer pressure.

Dr. Scott Geller (04:53):
You've heard that word so many times. What if we changed that word to peer support, simple word change. Might in fact influence our motivation to feel that support in the safety world. We have rules. Sometimes we call them a mandate. Top-down control top-down rule. What's a better word. How about an expectation? We expect you to do this. Not, you must do this again. It's our language. Someone says they want to train you. Would it sound better to say we'd like to coach you to do better again? How about the mask that we're supposed to wear in the safety world? They're calling it P P E what's that mean? Well, it's personal protective equipment, but that mask we're asked to wear that COVID-19 mask. It's not for ourselves. It's for others. It's to protect others. So it's not personal protective equipment. It's public, public protective equipment. Again, I'm simply suggesting that simple word usage can affect both our attitude and our behavior. You talk to yourself to build yourself up, but sometimes you talk to yourself to kind of put yourself down again. We need to talk to ourselves in a way that motivates us to do the right thing. Not you got to do this, you get to do this. It's an opportunity. It's not a requirement. It's not compliance. It's commitment. Our language influences how we feel. Our language influences how motivated.

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