The inner dialogue is a force that can affect your life in a way that is often difficult to comprehend.
It seeps into every facet of your behavior, from the way you work to the way you communicate with others, and how you see yourself. It affects your outlook on life, emotions and beliefs on a fundamental level.
Some of us are lucky enough to have a powerful and positive inner dialogue. However, many of us let doubt and low self-worth define our state of mind.
And it’s here that Rock Thomas’ story begins.
Rock Thomas is an author and owner of several successful businesses, including six award-winning RE/MAX real-estate franchises. Thomas’ mentor taught him that his inner dialogue was his most powerful weapon.
Now, Thomas teaches other this same exact lesson. Here is how one mentor changed his life forever, and how you can change yours too.
The words that follow ‘I am’ follow you. Choose carefully how you describe yourself.
– Rock Thomas
A dark childhood
From an early age, Rock Thomas learned the value of hard work.
He grew up on a small farm near Montreal, Canada and, from the time he was eight years old, woke up before the sun rose to do chores.
But what Thomas gained in work ethic, he lacked in love and affection.
One morning, he was dreading going out to the family barn, where he says at least thirty rats were waiting for him each time he opened the barn door. He decided to ask his father to come with him.
One time, I went back to the house, and I said, ‘Dad, can you come with me?’ He locked the door, and he says, ‘Go out and do your chores, and don’t come back until they’re done.’ That was kind of the beginning of me realizing that I wasn’t in a supportive environment.
Thomas continued to live with his father, waking up at the crack of dawn to do chores — no matter what. One day, when Thomas was 14, his father promised they would play together, something that had never happened before.
Excited about the occasion, Thomas woke up early and walked up to his dad. His excitement was short-lived.
He turned, he looked at me, and I felt myself shrinking down. He stood up and this shadow cast over me, and I felt myself [hunching down], and he stood up and he goes,
‘Do you have any idea what it takes to put food on the table? Do you think that this roof just puts itself there? Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know. One day you’re going to have to work hard for money.
Now get out and play on your own before I put you to work.’
From there on, things didn’t get any better. During hockey games, his father would drop Thomas off and wait in the car. At his graduation, Thomas looked into the crowd, but his father was nowhere to be found.
It didn’t matter whether he scored the game-winning goal or graduated with honors (and he did just that), throughout his entire childhood and teen life, the boy grew up in a household where his father was physically present, but never truly there.
Thomas quickly learned that the only way to get his father’s attention was to work harder. So, as the years went on, he doubled down on hard work.
Thankfully, my father kept on putting me in situations to grow. It didn’t feel good at the time, but if you do what is easy, life will be difficult. But, if you do what’s difficult, life will be easy. I got the difficult part up front, and I got really good at it.
One last chance
By the time he was 17, Thomas had saved enough money to move out. Over the next several years, he worked several jobs, from driving a taxi to washing windows. Hard work was now in his DNA and, for better or worse, he gravitated towards the type of work that made use of that strength.
Over time, Thomas would save a considerable sum of money and start to do some of the traveling he had always dreamed of. His life was finally starting to take off.
Then, he got the call that would change everything.
His father was dying of cancer. Immediately, Thomas jumped on a plane and flew to Australia– where his father and stepmother had since moved to– and did everything he could to not only handle his father’s unfinished business, but also to make him proud.
“I remember the day I had to leave to go back to take care of my family, I had a young son at the time, and they had nothing left,” said Thomas. I asked my dad, [who] was probably 98 pounds, lying in the bed, ‘Dad? Can you think of a time when I made you proud?’”
Keep in mind Thomas was almost a millionaire by that time. He expected to finally bond with his dad. “Nothing I can think of” was the answer he got.
His spirit broken, Thomas returned home, finding himself jobless and with a struggling marriage, with all of his hard-earned savings gone to support a father who never showed an ounce of affection.
At 30 years old and with nothing to show for it, Thomas was forced to start from scratch. After overhearing about the opportunities in real estate, and with nothing to lose, he decided to give it a try.
One night, Thomas was working late in his new office when his mentor walked in. What happened next was something he had never experienced before: praise. His boss complimented his work ethic, and Thomas didn’t even realize he was talking to him because he was so not used to receiving positive feedback. The conversation that happened next changed the course of Rock Thomas’ life forever:
His mentor said, “Who’s an idol that you have?”
“Well, one of my favorite is Clint Eastwood. He’s like rugged. I’m kind of rugged. I feel rugged,” said Thomas.
“Perfect. Tell me about it.”
“He’s like, ruggedly handsome.”
“How does that feel when you say that?” asked the mentor.
“It feels pretty good. I feel pretty good,” said Thomas.
“That’s it. So now what we’re going to do is you’re going to reprogram your brain. Your brain is like software. We’re just going to reprogram it,” he continued.
“Every time you get a chance say ‘I’m ruggedly handsome. I’m ruggedly handsome.’ The words that follow ‘I am’ follow you, you just didn’t know it. You had shitty programming, but now we’re going to change that, and change that forever.”
Driving home that night, Thomas felt as though the world had opened up to him. Excited, he began chanting “I’m ruggedly handsome” every chance he had.
Soon, “I’m ruggedly handsome” turned into “I’m the greatest real estate agent in my area.” Within just a few short years, one sale turned into a hundred. Soon, Thomas broke every sales record in his office. He ended up buying the company.
From that one bit of wisdom, Thomas went from being a shy and unconfident farm boy to a confident and financially free man. He was able to break free of the labels placed onto him by his father years and rewrite his life.
The words that follow “I am…” follow you
“The most powerful force in the human psyche is how we describe ourselves to ourselves,” according to Thomas.
So, what labels have you placed upon yourself? Who gave you those labels? Is someone telling you that you should be something or are you telling yourself and the world who you are?
Whatever your inner dialogue is, you have the opportunity to rewrite it.
The power is, and has always been, in your hands. You just didn’t know it until now.
So, who are you? Perhaps you are:
Take it from Rock Thomas:
Today is the first day of the rest of your life, and you get to redefine yourself if you want to.
What do you want? Who are you? Because the strongest force in the human psyche is a desire to remain consistent with how you define yourself.
Inspired by this story and interested in learning more and leveraging the power of your own inner dialogue?