March 29

How Mind Games Will Hold You Back From Your Potential


How Mind Games Will Hold You Back From Your Potential

By Deborah Johnson

March 29, 2021

habits, head trash, healthy self talk, midlife, mind games, mindset, power of the brain

Mind Games

Mind Games come in all shapes and sizes. They are ways we can easily tear ourselves down while lifting up the imaginary success of others. As the most powerful computer in the world, your mind is capable of sending constant messages to either encourage or discourage you. (see: Self-Sabotage)

Through the power of the repetitive process, a human brain’s production can’t be emphasized enough. Messaging can be positive or negative and many times we have a choice. The power of a physical virus is in its repetitiveness and we have seen this in COVID-19. And just like a physical virus, a virtual virus will duplicate itself over and over again. This happened to my music website when it was hacked. Hundreds of pages contained jumbled code that had been entered, all because of a virus. (this happened on

We have experienced a worldwide pandemic with an easily transmittable virus that was devastating to our economy, our health and our well-being. It not only held many back, but stymied our economic climate until a vaccine, health guidelines and precautions could be met. Just as destructive as that virus are mind games that are negative and destructive. (see free course on Head Trash)
Women at Halftime by Deborah Johnson How Mind Games will Hold You Back from Your Potential 3-30-21
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The Brain

A brain’s ability to duplicate magnifies any sort of virtual or even physical virus. A typical healthy human brain contains about 200 billion nerve cells or neurons, linked together by synapses. In a human brain, there are more than 125 trillion synapses just in the cerebral cortex alone. Stephen Smith of Stanford School of Medicine says, That’s roughly equal to the number of stars in 1,500 Milky Way galaxies. He goes on to say a single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and internet connections on earth.*

One of the common negative mind games is that humans will be replaced by robots. Rather than worried about being replaced by AI, we should focus on increasing the brain’s inherent ability to do things that digital computers can’t, like creating new things and ideas. (Just talk to me about a new project and I’m excited!)

There’s only so much a computer can do as far as reasoning, even though they will get better over time. We have to get beyond the head trash and mind games that hold us back to take advantage of opportunity before us. I often use the process of becoming a Roundabout Hero™ to illustrate unhealthy self-talk and mind games that keep you circling endlessly in the middle of a roundabout. You become a Roundabout Hero™ when successfully exiting with healthy self-talk and purpose. In this article, I’m going to focus on that self-talk in three areas: identifying language, changing language, then taking action.

One: Identifying Language

What do you see or even think when you look in a mirror? Do you see, “I’m not good enough? I’m a failure? I’m too old? I don’t have the right look? I don’t have the right contacts? I’m horrible with tech?” All of those thoughts can hold you back, especially if they become a repetitive process.

As you identify your language, I encourage you to journal. (see: What to Do When You Hit a Plateau) Write down what you really feel. You can always throw away these pages! But write them down. Take time to identify your thoughts and what you’re feeling. This has been a very important process for me as I’ve been writing a new book, which is an allegory.

Most know an allegory is a story with a hidden or not-so hidden meaning. For me, it’s actually been similar to writing a musical script or book with character development. I’ve had to delve into the feelings of the characters. In doing this, I’ve identified some of my own head trash and feelings which are particularly very relatable to the main character or protagonist. My practice is to only journal a couple lines each day, but it keeps my thoughts focused and identifies my current mindset. This serves as a good look in the mirror!

Deborah Johnson-Mind Games

A note here is to not only identify your self-talk but how you are comparing yourself with others. If you have an imaginary yardstick of popularity, of success, of looks, talent or ability, that yardstick may or may not hold up at all. It may be like a thin piece of plastic trying to steady and hold a tree trunk from bending. My direct experience tells me it doesn’t work! If you are going to compare, compare yourself with you and your own potential. Part of that process will be to change your language and self-talk.

Two: Changing Language

This is not easy, by any means, but absolutely necessary. If you start out every day with a “not good enough” message, you are going to stay stuck, spinning in circles in your roundabout. The first step is just to take that language out of your vocabulary. You may not be able to actually say different words yet, but removing the negativity is the first step.

The next will be to look in that mirror with a different attitude. Most of us women know that many mirrors in clothing stores are specifically crafted to make us look thinner. If you have your doubts about this, look it up! You will not read this in advertising journals and it’s not universal, but it’s common. I want you to look at yourself with new eyes, even with a magic mirror!

Looking negatively in the mirror, I just focus on my core that isn’t thin or firm enough. But looking positively, I see an expression in my face and movements that can communicate clearly, uniquely and impactfully. I can always work on my core, but that should not hold me back with language that just tears me down. One of the most productive times in life is the halftime years, officially over the age of 40. I focus my business more specifically on ages 45-60 and even beyond. Your skills, your abilities and accomplishments are so very valuable. You are NOT too old, too irrelevant or too disadvantaged technically. The only thing that will really hold you back is your mindset and letting mind games including negative self-talk continue.

Take time with your journal to go back to step one where you identified your language and write out a new script with a positive twist. After you do this, review that script constantly. Some people post notes on their mirror. Some review those notes every day in meditation, a devotional time and additional journaling. This is all part of taking action.

Deborah Johnson-top Piano-Music

Three: Taking Action

After identifying your language and changing your language, getting beyond mind games takes action. I have known so many who have talked about finishing an album, finishing a book, starting a new career, investing in additional learning…the list goes on. Many times, checking back with them a year later reveals no progress.

Sure there are distractions, but many times it’s more than that. It takes focus and staying on task. And there will be hurdles that make it difficult to proceed. When a door closes, look for a window. When a window shuts, look for a crack in the wall. There is usually a way around obstacles and this takes a focused mindset and healthy self-talk to move forward. A good example is with dieting. Most know that success is all about nutrition and creating new habits. Commitment to a lifestyle of healthy eating will do more for you than fad diets or programs. This is a decision and getting beyond the “I’ll always be this way” language.

For those with physical and health issues, mindset is even more important. Looking in that mirror and seeing what can be is extremely important. There are so many inspiring stories of those who have overcome huge physical challenges. I’ve known those who were told they could never walk again. Then they did. Deciding to incorporate a new habit discounted that assessment for James Clear. You can read about it in his book: Atomic Habits. He took action and incorporated a healthy routine. It definitely took an act of the will.


There are so many resources available to get beyond “not good enough” and even “I can’t do tech!” Online programs, mentoring, coaching and support groups are plentiful. The first step is identifying the language and mind games that are holding you back. Take a good hard look in the mirror. Be honest and write those feelings down. (see book: Bad Code)

Then work on changing that language. Go back to your journal and change what you say to yourself. You ARE good enough. You CAN learn enough tech to hire it out. You have valuable skills, resources and experience. It doesn’t matter how old you are!

I hear this phrase from time to time, “Time has passed me by.” Don’t let this become your mantra. If that is your self-talk, that mind game will keep you circling in the middle of a roundabout. You are the only one who can take action for yourself. You will never reach your potential, or new potential if you don’t. No one else can do that for you. I’m rooting for you!

As the most powerful computer in the world, your mind is capable of sending constant messages to either encourage or discourage you.

deborah johnson

Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author

If you are interested in growing and learning, check out our online courses here: Online Learning

1,555 words

Deborah Johnson

About the author

DEBORAH JOHNSON, M.A., creator of Hero Mountain® and former president of Los Angeles National Speakers Association, is an international award-winning music artist, author, speaker and National Media Commentator. She also hosts the popular podcast "Women at Halftime." Deborah provides tools to create your ideal lifestyle and work at mid-career or during the halftime of life, getting unstuck. You can live your second half fulfilled, focused and free! Up for multiple GRAMMY Awards and spending over 20 years in the entertainment industry, she's an expert on how to constantly reinvent yourself in a gig-economy. She is also the recipient of the Women's Economic Forum Exceptional Women of Excellence Award. Deborah is the author of multiple books, over twenty albums and musicals and speaks and performs in both live and virtual events.

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