Here’s a brief extract from my book ‘Improve Your Life! 21 Strategies That Will Make The Difference’ which comes from Strategy No. 5 Protect Against Toxic Types:
“Dress For Battle! Another way you can deal more resourcefully with the toxic type is to consider the situation as a military conflict. Like it or not, you are in a battle and if you don’t protect yourself you are going to get hurt.
An experienced soldier would never knowingly enter a potentially dangerous situation dressed in shorts and a vest top, armed only with a mobile telephone. That soldier would protect himself as fully as possible. He would be dressed accordingly, in full kit, carrying whatever was required to keep him safe and with a fully functioning and loaded weapon ready to discharge, if needed.
If you don’t protect yourself – emotionally, mentally and practically – from the fall out of the toxic onslaught then what do you honestly believe your chances of survival are?
It’s a battle and one of you is going to win it. Who do you want that to be?”
Now although that sets a context for dealing with toxic individuals in your life, you can apply the concept to how you can mentally ‘dress for battle’.
By what you wear in your working hours, your particular ‘overalls’, present you to the world in a certain way. This is what I call your physical armour.
During my working life, I’ve worn a variety of ‘overalls’ to ply my trade at the time.
I wore my first work ‘overalls’ from age 11 until 16, my school uniform. I had the physical armour alright … but, oh my, if only I’d have understood about mental armour back then!
Age 15 I got my first job and, thereafter, I spent Saturday’s behind the counter of Firth’s Seafood stall, Castle Market, Sheffield. My physical armour for that role comprised a white coat and apron.
I loved that job even though a side effect was a rather strong and very fishy aroma. I assume that explains why I always had a double seat to myself on the bus ride home. Still though the access to any mental armour eluded me.
Age 17 the glamour of show business beckoned. Success in a seaside talent contest final began my many years working in clubs, holiday centres, cabaret, theatre productions and pantomimes.
I am sure that you are familiar with the saying ‘going from the sublime to the ridiculous’? Well, my old photo albums from this period prove that my ‘overalls’, my physical armour, whilst rarely sublime, were often quite ridiculous.
There’s no business like show business!
Throughout all my time in entertainment, the many and varied sets of physical armour I had to wear I still hadn’t learned about mental armour.
Currently, my work ‘overalls’ tend to be dark suits, double cuff shirts, silk ties and black shoes.
At last, I have my mental armour!
What I refer to as Mental Armour is the knowledge of and discipline to condition your mind on a daily basis. You can use positive affirmations designed to help you win battles as best you can.
I am a fan and the original Star Wars Trilogy of movies, the epic battle between the ‘Dark Side’ and the ‘Force’. The fight for survival between the powers of negative and positive, set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”
That same war is being waged NOW much, much nearer to home. In fact, the mysterious space between your own ears is where the battle of your thinking plays out every day.
You are the negative thoughts. The ‘Dark Side’. And you are the positive thoughts. The ‘Force’ and as I mentioned before … “It’s a battle and one of you is going to win it. Who do you want that to be?”
When you think about ‘The Dark Side’, imagine Darth Vader. Let him represent that to which only you are privy. Meaning the worst extremes of your negative, self-critical, “can’t do” self-talk.
Yet, behind Lord Vader stand legions of Storm Troopers. These represent the never-ending negative chatter. Always ready to attack.
You know the sort of thing:
- “I can’t do it!”
- “Who am I kidding?”
- “I’m rubbish at this!”
- “I’m such an idiot!”
- “Why am I so stupid?”
- “Oh no, I’ve done wrong AGAIN!”
- “Why can’t I get anything right?”
- “I’ll never be able to get this right!”
And, of course, all those examples are the clean versions without the added swear words.
The problem with negative chatter is that it can quickly very become overwhelming.
The result? Your mind gets overrun with Storm Troopers. And before you know it, Darth Vader appears! And that’s not going to go well.
Then when you think of ‘The Force’, imagine the eclectic group of main characters that comprise the Rebellion. Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, R2-D2, C-3PO and Yoda.
Imagine them as symbolising the many ways to choose powerful, positive self-talk. Having the power to fend off and protect against the ever-present threat of negative thoughts. To protect against the Dark Side.
So, using the desired state of confidence as our ammunition (and a Star Wars character to symbolise it), here are some different styles of affirmation that you could use:
- Luke Skywalker: “I am confident.”
- Princess Leia: “I am allowed to be confident.”
- Han Solo: “Everything I do, I choose to do confidently.”
- Chewbacca: “Confidence!”
- Obi-Wan Kenobi: “My natural state is confidence.”
- R2-D2: “Why do I feel so confident today?”
- C-3PO: “How many ways can I show my confidence today?”
- Yoda: “Confident, I am!” (Yes, couldn’t resist that one … and sorry, I am not)
This choice, when embedded as a daily habit, is an integral and essential part of ‘dressing for battle’. A chance for you to step up and don your mental armour.
Over the years I have used the full range of styles (except Yoda). They have all had a powerful impact on my belief system. Enabling me to make positive changes in my behaviours, actions and results.
The I AM style of affirmation is the source of most of my mental armour. Yet, I enjoy ‘dressing for battle’ using the ‘WHY’ focused style of positive question.
The primary purpose of any affirmation is to get yourself to feel the feelings associated with the words. This is the way to impress those words. To imprint them through emotionalised repetition, onto your unconscious mind.
In my experience, the I AM affirmations can have a galvanising effect on the mental Storm Troopers.
Causing them to come out fighting.
If you have no experience as a public speaker, you can tell yourself “I AM a wonderful public speaker!” But, your own negative chatter – your mental Storm Troopers – are, most likely, going to attack.
Their attacks will come in the form of negative retaliation:
- “No, you are not!”
- “You are lying!”
- “Who are you kidding?”
- “You are terrified to speak!”
If you want to avoid that type of skirmish, then the ‘WHY’ style of affirmations is an effective tactic to help you fly under the radar of the ‘Dark Side’.
This is because posing a question sets your mind on a search for the evidence to support it.
If you like you are playing a Jedi mind trick on the Storm Troopers within your own mind. To paraphrase Obi-Wan from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope … “These are not the affirmations you are looking for.”
The Jedi mind trick I use daily is to ask: “Why am I having such a great day today?”
This then sends my mind on a search for the evidence to answer my question – my affirmation in disguise!
How to create your own positive affirmations:
I recommend that you spend up to 20 minutes to think about and note down your own potential WHY style affirmations.
When I did this exercise, I filled 7 A4 pages of my Journal with a huge range of Why’s. From them, I selected a few that I use on a very regular basis depending on what I need to achieve.
Here are some examples of my original brain dump on paper…
- Why do I feel so happy?
- Why am I so calm and relaxed?
- Why is my life so blessed?
- Why do I enjoy such great relationships?
- Why do I find it so easy to focus on and achieve my goals?
- Why do I have such a great job?
- Why am I surrounded by great people?
- What are my clients so nice?
- Why am I so grateful?
The key is to let your imagination run free. Write quick and jot down whatever comes to mind.
Don’t edit yourself; allow the thoughts to flow onto the page.
Then choose the ones that stand out for you at this point. Either think them over and over again or say them to self-aloud. Say them with energy and feeling (but be careful where you do this – the supermarket is not advisable!).
Everything starts with a thought!
You are in a daily battle between the positive and the negative thoughts in your head.
To mentally protect yourself you must ‘dress for battle’.
If you want to defeat Vader and the ‘Dark Side’ of your thoughts, that starts with keeping your Storm Troopers at bay. Use whatever mind tricks you prefer to do that.
Choose a style of affirmation that works for you and that becomes your mental armour.
May the ‘Force’ be with you!
Interested in more ways to Improve Your Life?
Read more about this tip and 20 others in my latest book; ‘Improve Your Life! 21 Strategies That Will Make The Difference’Shop Now