Shut the Duck Up

We all have a voice inside our head that chatters to us constantly about the day-to-day situations we find ourselves in. It’s one of the three primary ways that we interpret external data by constructing conversations internally with ourselves.

Although we all have a voice (or quite often several different ones) we have our own particular versions some of which can be more helpful than others.

Does your voice support and encourage you when things aren’t going quite as planned or does it become aggressive, whiny, rude, pessimistic and thinks nothing of tearing a strip off you?

Is it often far more hostile and abusive to you than you ever would be to other people, even people you don’t actually like?

I once heard this voice likened to that of a bad tempered, miserable, old duck! Yes that’s what I said, a duck. Close your eyes and you can hear the voice in your head now quacking away at you.

The Duck

You may not have noticed it’s duck-like aquatic qualities before, but now you can. Do you know why you can? It’s because inside your own head you can hear whatever you want to hear. You can of course hear your own voice in whatever tonality that you care for. Or if you’d prefer you could be advising yourself in the dulcet tones of Jimmy Stewart or James Earl Jones or even Oprah Winfrey. The options are as limitless as your own imagination.

I regularly have clients tell me there isn’t any voice inside their head. I usually respond with “So you’re dead then?” The fact is we’ve had years to perfect our quacking and it happens so quickly and so unconsciously that many people have stopped noticing it.

We mess up at something and the voice is sat there in the background ready to chime in “Quack, you are a failure, you never do anything right, you are an embarrassment” Even when something goes well it can still undermine with “Quack, you just got lucky, wait until they find out you’re an imposter”

It’s so insidious and so good at its job that its barely noticeable but the over all negative effect on your emotional wellbeing can be enormous. It has a drip-drip effect that serves over the course of time to make you believe that what it’s saying is true, which in turn makes it so.

So it starts to set your own reality for you. Yes! That’s what I said; a duck sets your reality for you. How scary is that?

Stop the Quacking

Maybe it’s about time to shut the duck up, or at least make him or her a little bit more friendly and supportive. You do need a voice inside your head, so let’s pick one that you like. You can drop the duck or whatever you have now and choose a voice that makes you feel good or maybe even brilliant!

You still want to be able to hear the message, so don’t make it so chilled and laid back that you never take any notice of it. You can even choose 2, 3 or as many voices as you want for different occasions. Your voice should always support you, always be helpful, never aggressive and it never puts you down.

Wouldn’t that be great, a voice that treats you with the respect that you deserve, the kind of respect that you like to offer to other people? If you perfect this, and it does need a bit of practice to start to become more aware of your thoughts, then I guarantee you will feel a great deal better about yourself.

Not only that, but you’ll start to realize you’re in control of what goes on inside your head and nobody else. How brilliant is that?


This article was written by Professional Life Coach Tim Brownson. Tim is owner of A Daring Adventure and if you’re so inclined you can read more of his ramblings at ‘The Discomfort Zone’. This post is taken from Tim’s book ‘Don’t Ask Stupid Questions – There Are No Stupid Questions’. Tim has agreed to make available 5 free copies to the first people that leave a comment on the topic. If you are in the US or Canada he’ll even mail you the hardback version if you prefer that to the E-book.