I talk more than I listen

Dr. James Gills, a renowned ocular surgeon and philanthropist gave this advice when asked how he was able to do back to back triathlons on six different occasions. He said, “I learned to talk to myself instead of listen to myself.” He continued, “”If I listen to myself I hear all the reasons why I should give up. I hear that I’m too tired, too old, too weak to make it. But if I talk to myself I can give myself the encouragement and words I need to hear to keep running and finish the race.”

This is such powerful advice. If I see myself as a friend, someone I love and care about, I can kindly offer encouragement on a hard day. Instead of listening to a long list my brain wants to offer me about how I am doing it wrong, I can talk to myself. I can be a true friend. When things haven’t turned out exactly like I had planned I can treat myself with compassion and understanding.

This allows me to recover faster from my setbacks, forgive myself and move on. If my goal is to “keep running and finish the race” what will help me most: beating myself up or gently encouraging myself to keep going?


  1. What a lovely, yet powerful reminder – talking rather than listening to myself; encouraging rather than criticizing myself. Thank you!

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