Don’t Silence the Negative Voice in Your Head. Leverage It.

Tom Bilyeu
Published in
3 min readFeb 21, 2018


Everyone, without exception, struggles with the negative voice in their head.

And before I built the billion-dollar brand Quest Nutrition, I did too.

The first half of my life was controlled by a negative mindset. I was often paralyzed by fear. Wrecked by insecurity. I didn’t think too highly of myself.

I had this insistent voice in my head telling me that I wasn’t good enough. I OBSESSIVELY thought about how things were going to go wrong.

This ultimately became the seat of my anxiety which bloomed like some horrific algae plague in my mind until I wasn’t even comfortable speaking to my family in a small living room setting.

I’m sad that’s actually true, but it is.

The problem was I didn’t know how to leverage that negative voice. I used to think I wanted to silence that voice, but a) that’s impossible, and b) that voice has a purpose.

You DON’T want to silence it.

But you do want to eliminate its negative impact on your life. And here’s how to do that:

1. Recognize that the negative voice is NOT objective.

The negative voice tells lies to keep you safe. Anxiety has a powerful evolutionary purpose — it acts as a behavior guardrail. Like those beeps that your car does as you get too close to an object. At first, it’s subtle, but as you move closer to a perceived danger, it goes nuts. Such is the same with anxiety.

That’s good because it makes you slow down and evaluate. It’s bad, however, because it was developed to protect you from life and death shit, and these days, that accounts for about 20% of your decisions.

Today things like being booted out of the group is no longer a death sentence. So the other 80% of the time the negative voice isn’t protecting you from anything meaningful and is just a heckler telling you that you’re stupid, destined to fail, etc.

In the past, it was better to live a “small” life and be alive than to go for broke and risk alienation or being eaten by a lion. But that’s no longer the world we live in. Hence the reason for that voice being less useful than it once would have been.

2. Reframe the situation.

Because the negative voice isn’t objective and its goals aren’t aligned with yours, you must learn to immediately reframe the situation. Reframing is critical. Everything in life comes down to how you choose to see it.

Instead of considering all the things that could go wrong, think through what you’d need to do to ensure that it goes well.

As they tell race car drivers, the car will follow your eyes. If you look at the wall because you’re afraid you’re going to hit it, you WILL hit it. Instead, focus on where you’re going so that you ensure you actually end up there.

3. Train the negative voice to trigger an empowering response.

Instead of trying to make the negative voice go silent, use it as a trigger to say something empowering. You’re literally going to turn it into a habit loop trigger for empowering self-talk.

In that scenario, “If I fail, I’ll look stupid” becomes, “If I fail, I’ll learn something and be able to do it better next time.”

It’s the trigger to remind yourself that you’re a learner.

Anxiety and negativity as triggers are how you turn them into something that empowers you rather than weakening you.

I hope those three tips serve you well in taming and leveraging — but not silencing — your negative voice.

Until next time, be legendary, my friends.

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Tom Bilyeu

Co-Founder/CEO of Impact Theory and Co-Founder Quest Nutrition (#2 Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies 2014) / Host of @Impact_Theory