Voices in my head

how igor ticks , emotional intelligence

The person that most frequently blocks your success is … wait for it … you! Often it’s your subconscious, and often your sub conscious is a bunch of independent voices, many of whom are negative. It’s very hard to deal with this hidden opposition because it’s so opaque. To help understand your feelings you can name the voices in your head, and imagine asking each of them their positions, and desired outcomes.

I’m not smart (or wacky) enough to come up with this technique on my own. It comes from William Ury, master negotiator, and author of Getting to Yes (and Getting to Yes with yourself). He talks about the importance of applying the negotiating principles to your unconscious. The principles are 1) Soft on people, hard on problems and 2) Focus on interests not positions. (For those that speak 7 habits - this maps to habit #4: Seek first to understand, then to be understood).

Here are my voices, I’m trying to teach myself to spend some time talking to all of them so they are better behaved.

(BTW the order below is deliberate,it’s the order of the voices i want to talk to. I want to give more air time to the positive players)

Positive Players

  • Harry - my habits coach. Always pushing for more habits
  • Carl - my confidence. Champion of success
  • Peter - the performer, loves to juggle and do magic.
  • Willy - the whimsical. Twin brother of peter the performer.
  • David - the Dad. Proud like a MoFo
  • Gertrude - My grandmother mind reassuring me that I can take it easy, and I’m doing the best I can.

Positive Players (Too be hired)

  • Harold - the Husband. Treating Love like a verb not a noun.

Negative Habits

  • Gary my desire to gorge instead of eating healthy.
  • Vern my desire to vegetate and not exercise
  • Prashant my desire to procrastinate



  • Walter - my anxiety that I’m wasting my life.
  • Ina - my insecurity that I’m a failure, only around when Carl gets sick
  • Terrance - my frustrations with my wife
  • Frank - my guilt I’m not doing enough as a father.

Anxieties (Retired)

  • Mo - my anxiety about money (retired since the the stock market went through roof).
  • Wilma - my end end of month anxiety around hitting my weight goals.