When I'm uncertain, I hear it. I hear myself, a part of my very own mind, obstructing me.

It is there in all of us. The concept that there is an almost constant internal dialogue going on inside us is pretty remarkable. Being able to reflect on the nature of these psychological exchanges can teach us a lot about the inner workings of our minds.

The ability to hear these exchanges with the perspective of a neutral observer is something I've only just started to develop. While certainly no expert, the occasions I've been able to tune in have lead to significant insight.

It is in the moments where I am nervous, stressed or overwhelmed that the dialogue is loudest. And it is almost always telling me no. It wants to avoid embarrassment and judgement. It wants me to to minimise confrontation. Most of all what it wants is for me to stay safely inside of my comfort zone.

The logical twists and contortions used to rationalise this thoughts might appear so obvious to a perfectly rational brain, but when you're in the heat of those feelings and situations, rationality is never the closest tool at hand.

Look Jon, I know that right now you're trying to do something new and make yourself better, but look how far you've come today. You've done enough growing here, leave that for next time. Go be comfortable again.

This is not the perfect time for this, Jon, so don't attempt it. You've got this other inconsequential thing to do, and that's really more important than whatever it is that is making you uncomfortable right now.

Jon, think about how people will perceive you when you've messed this up. They think that you're fine, that you've got it all under control. Now here you are showing them that you don't. At all. So you can either risk throwing all of that away or you can protect that perception you've worked long and hard for by stopping now.

I've heard these justifications (nay, excuses) in my head hundreds of times over years and years, and they have been and will only ever be acts of self-deception. Just the simple act of writing those scenarios was almost as painful as it has been to hear and ultimately be constrained by them for all this time. But armed with the insight I can scrounge together each and ever day, I now know what I'm listening out for. Next time, rather than be talked down, I'll be able to push back.