The next time you’re having a bad day at the office, start talking about yourself in the third person. Sure, you might worry some of your co-workers — but you’ll get over your bad day much faster.
Just look at presidential candidate Herman Cain, who is known to refer to himself in the third person.
According to a report in Psychology Today, we tell stories about our lives almost like chapters and we refer to these sections “the good old days,” “hard times,” “getting married,” and “raising children.”
By discussing our lives in third-person, we can become more objective and less judgmental about our decisions — especially if the decisions turn out to be bad ones. This is because you are typically the harshest critic of yourself and when talking about the big “I,” you automatically become attached to the details. But speaking about yourself in third-person allows you to secretly sneak past your own defenses “by tricking the censoring ego into thinking that we are describing someone else’s life, even though we’re describing our own.”
The study says:
By retracing their steps from the perch of the third-person narrative, people were more likely to regard their problems as something outside themselves – challenges they had conquered or adversaries they had defeated – instead of character flaws. Additionally, the perception that they had overcome obstacles left them feeling more confident to face the future.
The report sources a Columbia University study that concluded people who spoke about their lives in third-person narrative “displayed confidence and optimism than those who recalled bad memories in the first person.”
So, in order to effectively move on from a bad situation at work, simply pretend you’re playing a character in a movie and figure out why certain situations or decisions are made. Once you figure these things out, you’ll be able to put that “negative” chapter behind you and move on to the next chapter.
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