Manage Self-Talk to Be More Resilient

Sometimes people look at you sideways when you talk to yourself.

But self-talk plays an important role in our

development as people.

To improve your resilience,

manage your self-talk.

The stories we tell ourselves are powerful, and positive self-talk can help change your narrative about failure from a disaster to something to bounce back and learn from.

When you’re faced with a setback (something that requires resilience to “bounce back” from), reframe the way you talk to yourself about it.

Use milder language. Using a milder word can soften the blow to your self-esteem that failure brings and help you bounce back quicker.

For example, instead of saying “That was a disaster,” say “That was a challenge.”

You could also change negative statements to neutral or positive statements. Challenge your assumptions about what just happened. Are you sure it’s bad?

For example, if a project is cancelled, instead of saying “That was a waste of time,” you can say

“I now have more time to work on other things.”

Finally, you can coach yourself.

When faced with a tough situation, say things like “This will be tough, but I can get through it,” or “Let’s focus on what I can control.”

Time for a quiz.

Brent, a mechanic, can’t figure out what is wrong with a sports car he is working on. He says to himself, “This is ridiculous, what am I doing wrong?” What should he say to himself instead?

Quiz 1 of 1

What should Brent say to himself instead?

“This isn’t my fault. The customer is the one who broke the car.”
“Get it together, Brent. You need to fix this.”
“This is a challenge, but I can figure it out.”
“I can’t figure this out. I should get some help.”

Answer C: “This is a challenge, but I can figure it out.”

This self-talk reframes the task from “ridiculous” to “a challenge.” It also has a bit of self-coaching!


Next time you hear yourself engaging in negative self-talk, try reframing it or giving yourself some words of coaching.

Lesson complete