The narrator in our mind

I’ve recently heard that the voice in our head is like a sports broadcaster.

It narrates the play-by-play of our actions. In a remarkably quick moment we make a decision then, if we pay attention, we think about that action.

It’s said it would be difficult to imagine the sports broadcaster calling the shots of the quarterback moments before they act, and that it’s much more reasonable to imagine them simply recounting what’s observed.

This idea about actions influencing thought is the sort of thing behind cognitive-behavioral therapy. In this form of therapy, you set intentions to make different actions and, in turn, it adjusts thinking.

This broadcaster idea, to me, is not extremely convincing. After all, if it’s true and it really is just interpretation, then how do we set that intention required in cognitive-behavioral therapy?

I think it’s more complex. It’s useful to think in these terms because it demonstrates that most of us have the ability to change the way we think about things. It helps to be more self-empowered.

However, it’s perhaps more appropriate to say we’re the coach. We can call the play, watch it, interpret it, compare it to other plays, and then call the next play – but if we aren’t disciplining our team well enough, our quarterback might start calling their own plays. Then we become the broadcaster.

In this scenario, if you become the broadcaster, you lose.