Man holding hands over his ears because of noise.

Hush Now

When we’re unconscious or not as aware as we can be, our ego will typically try to grab control of any process we’re working on. Sometimes that serves us, but most times it doesn’t—because the ego is pretty defensive and aggressive.

Here’s a quick grid that illustrates the contrast in the ways we talk to ourselves when our ego is driving vs. when our deeper, more authentic self is driving:

EGO                                                                            AUTHENTIC SELF

disempowers                                                                             empowers

Why bother?                                                                              What do I have to lose?

You can’t do this                                                                        You can totally do this

You suck at everything you try                                                   I’m really good at some things

This isn’t going to be any different                                            The past does not need to predict the future

You’re damaged goods                                                             You’re getting stronger and better every day

You don’t have what it takes to succeed                                   This may be difficult but it isn’t impossible

This is stupid                                                                             This seems really foreign—let me be patient

This is for dummies                                                                   I thought this would have been harder

This is for babies                                                                      I wish I had learned this stuff sooner—better late than never

They’re stupid                                                                           They don’t think like me and that makes me uncomfortable

They’re against you                                                                  Sometimes I can feel alone—remember that people care about me

No one is on your side                                                             I can talk myself into crazy places—good thing feelings aren’t facts

There’s not enough time                                                         I’m committed to doing what it takes to get this finished

You’re doing it all wrong                                                        This is harder than I thought—I need to be patient with myself

What will they think of you?                                                  I wonder if I could be a source of inspiration for other people?

Wherever you are in your process of getting and staying organized, pay attention to how you’re talking to yourself. If you find yourself beating up on yourself, don’t beat up on yourself for that, laugh instead at your humanity and recognize that negative self-talk is nothing new, it’s not unique to you, and you can shift how you speak to yourself at any time.

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About The Author

Andrew Mellen's picture

Andrew Mellen is an organizational expert, public speaker, and the #1 best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!

Andrew has helped tens of thousands of people worldwide to declutter and simplify their lives while regaining time for the things that matter.

A sought-after authority on organizing and productivity, Andrew's addressed audiences from The Great British Business Show to TEDx. 

Corporate clients include American Express, Genentech, NetApp, Time, Inc., and the US Depts. of Education and Homeland Security.

The media has dubbed Andrew “The Most Organized Man in America.” He writes a featured column called “Ask The Organizer” in Real Simple. In addition, he has written for and/or appeared in: The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, America Now, The Lisa Oz Show, The Nate Berkus Show, Oprah & Friends, Martha Stewart Living Today, ABC, NBC, CBS, CW11, HGTV, DIY Network, LiveWell Network, KnowMoreTV, Better Homes & Gardens, Ladies' Home Journal, Woman's Day, Family Circle, USA Today, GQ, InStyle, All You, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Healthy UK, American Way, numerous trade and travel publications, and NPR.

He leads workshops and speaks internationally while maintaining a private practice working with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies, trade associations, and non-profits to CEOs, award-winning filmmakers, and authors, as well as overwhelmed parents everywhere. 

In 2013, Andrew founded Unstuff U®, the world's first completely virtual personal organization training center, offering classes, workshops, and other online resources for businesses and individuals. 

Andrew is a member of the Experts Collective and serves on the faculty of the New York Open Center in New York City. He speaks frequently on the intersection of spirituality and organization at places including Omega Institute, San Francisco Zen Center, Tassajara, All Saints Church, JCC Manhattan, and the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, among others.

Previously, Andrew was an award-winning playwright, actor, producer, and director and the former Artistic Director of Alice B. Theater (Seattle), DC Arts Center (Washington, DC), and Shuttle Theater Company (New York). He is a contributing author to Yes Is the Answer: (And Other Prog-Rock Tales).

Andrew lives by his motto: More Love, Less Stuff!® 

Find him on the web at

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