Whatever your answer to the above questions may be, the ultimate result is that our thoughts contain our version or interpretation of the world around us; what we perceive as our version of "truth". It's what we believe. We take action on what we believe. And what we believe is equivalent to the self-talk that plays in our minds 24 hours a day.
If we learn to examine our own self-talk, if we step back and look inside ourselves to become aware of what we are thinking about and how those thoughts are creating our actions on a day to day basis, we are able to discard those thoughts that we can verify are not true. For example, many years ago I decided that I could not become a professional singer because I "thought" I was not good enough. A fearful personal belief about my singing controlled my decision making, and I eventually gave up rather than continue to focus on getting better and developing my skills as a vocalist. My self-talk at that time was full of fear and that fear in turn controlled my actions without me even realizing it until years later, when I had finally developed an ability to see myself from outside myself. When that flash of insight finally developed in me after many years of working towards it, I began to understand just how I had self-sabotaged my career in different ways at different times in my life. And it all began with negative self-talk that undermined my confidence and filled me with fearful thoughts. Once I believed those fearful thoughts, I acted on them by avoiding the thing that I feared. In doing that, I sabotaged a singing career that could have been very successful.
Wise old country folks have another way of saying this - "you don't know your butt from a hole in the ground, and you don't even know that you don't know your butt from a hole in the ground".
Millions of people are afflicted by a belief system that is wrong, but they do not even know they are wrong. This most often happens when we are teenagers. As teenagers most of us think we know everything, and have no idea of how little we actually do know. And many of those teenagers go on to become adults in positions of power who still have no clue. Large groups of such people, in government for example, can bring a nation to it's knees and damage all of it's citizens permanently by making bad decisions that become a burden on the people.
Successful companies can be destroyed by executives who have deceived themselves. Ken Lay was the CEO of Enron at the time of it's collapse in the early 2000's. Enron and it's employees were destroyed by their bosses who were driven by greedy self-talk and false beliefs about their own infallibility, Ken Lay tried to defend himself by claiming that he had no knowledge of the manifold scams that top Enron executives had perpetrated. Scams that ultimately destroyed a rich, successful company from the inside.
If Mr. Lay really had not been aware of those scams, he was a prime example of a phony leader who truly "did not know his butt from a hole in the ground". He was either living a lie about his own competence, or living a lie about how well Enron was doing. But in either case he was living a lie. In the end, Lay died of a heart attack before he could go to trial over the enormous web of lies that Enron executives had created.
Self awareness and specifically awareness of our self-talk will give us insight into the truth about ourselves. Be bold enough to examine your thoughts, and discover how they could be leading you to self destruction. It sometimes takes years for wrong beliefs to catch up with us, but as we get older, the day of reckoning does come to each one of us. Many wake up realizing that they have wasted their entire lives on wrong beliefs. Living a life of regret only leads to sorrow later in life.
Being bold enough to live a life of truth, no matter what kind of self-talk you must give up to get there, will result in a life well lived, and joy in our later years, instead of guilt or regret. Start today to become aware of what you "say to yourself" on a constant basis. We can only transform our lives if we are willing to transform our minds by accepting the truth and working with it instead of against it.