If you saw Bohemian Rhapsody, you know Rami Malek is clearly a very talented actor well-deserving of his 2019 Oscar win. But taking on such an iconic role would take more than just charisma--he would have to own the stage in flashy costumes as one of the most amazing performers of all time.
That would be a lot of pressure for anyone (especially someone who is not a singer and had never played piano). So it isn't surprising that going into filming the recreation of Live Aid (in front of a live audience of Queen fans), Malek was getting himself into a negative spiral, asking all sorts of questions like, "What if I don't live up to their expectations?"
Then after a small shift in his self talk, he was able to truly embody the essence of Freddie Mercury.
Malek reportedly said to himself, "Listen. If you're going to play a man who rocked this thing out like nobody's business and made everything his own and spontaneously combusted in the most magnificent way onstage, you better own this."
First Versus Second Person
What was so different about his self talk before rocking the stage? According to a 2014 study on the brain, self talk and behavior from The European Journal of Social Psychology, the simple shift from referring to yourself in the first person ("I got this") to the second person ("You got this") makes all the difference.
One reason this might have an increased impact is because it mimics the way a parent, teacher or coach would motivate a child--training the brain to respond to this phrasing from a very young age.
The human brain is constantly driven by rules of thumb it has learned over time, which guide a person's decisions and actions throughout their life. Tweaks like this, which seem inconsequential on a logical, conscious level can make a huge difference to the subconscious.
Your Own Self Talk
The best news for you is how easy this tweak is to implement into your own motivational self talk.
Take a moment now to reflect on the things you say in your own head. When getting ready for a big meeting, job interview, or pumping yourself up to speak on a stage--what do you say? Take all those, "I can" "I should" "I will" or "They will" statements and change them to "You" statements.
It will require a conscious shift for the first few times, but pretty soon your self talk will allow you to reach new heights. Trust me--you got this.