To Walk the Walk, Pep the Talk


Sydney Hancock

PEP TALKS A motivational speech can go a long way when it comes to gaining confidence and maintaining a positive attitude. Pep talks are an efficient way to boost morale because they can be given by anyone at any time.

Adya Mohapatra, Editor in Chief

In the modern age, the phenomena of emphasizing negativity and adopting a negative outlook on life has become widespread amongst younger generations. The fatalistic mindset so many people lead their lives with appears to be appropriate for a time with countless impending issues, ranging from climate change to corrupt governments. The general consensus amongst pessimistic thinkers seems to be, ‘If I set my expectations low in the first place, then nothing can disappoint me.’ However, this thought process can be detrimental to one’s level of success in life. People that get accustomed to putting themselves down have lower expectations for themselves and ignore their true potential. But how should one start integrating positive elements into their daily life? Two words: pep talks.

Countless studies have concluded that pep talks greatly motivate individuals by raising their confidence levels and making them feel supported. For example, Blog.allpsych states that in a study involving 120 basketball players, those that did receive pep talks before their game performed better. The players that were given the uplifting speeches said that they felt more competent and energized. The study also had some players receive pep talks from a coach while an athlete leader talked to the other team members. There appeared to be no noticeable difference between any of the players’ performances, indicating that it does not matter who gives the pep talk. It is merely the presence of a pep talk that inspires individuals. That means that we can easily boost our own morale whenever necessary.

But giving pep talks is easier said than done. Where does one start? HBR states that following Erica Galos Alioto’s formula of positive reinforcement can be quite effective. First, giving precise directions gives more weight and validity to the words of one’s pep talks. It should sound something like, ‘Finish this assignment. Then start the project. Once those things are done, you will be right on track.’ It demonstrates that you have a plan, you know the steps that need to be taken to execute the plan, and that you have confidence that the task can be accomplished. Additionally, the goals that you are setting either for yourself or someone else in your pep talk should be connected to the purpose of what needs to be done. For example, telling yourself how to study hard and get a good grade on the next quiz is a good start, but it needs to be reinforced with a long-term goal. Simply adding that doing well on the exam will improve your overall grade and benefit your grade point average makes you feel purposeful and  more motivated. Also, a little empathetic language can go a long way as it helps acknowledge concern for whoever you are addressing. Offering some understanding can really boost someone’s confidence as it shows that you know their situation but believe in them nonetheless.

Lastly, here are a few more tips for creating the perfect pep talk. The Ladders says that the less pressurizing the speech, the better. That way, the recipient feels calmer instead of more anxious. Furthermore, the pep talk should make you feel like you are still in control of what happens next. It is not as assuring to hear everything will be fine because that is not a guarantee, but it is a certainty that our fate lies in our hands. And finally, it is good to affirm people’s strengths and avoid cliches because it makes the person feel more listened to and more capable.

Overall, whether it be for someone else or yourself, pep talks can initiate a huge shift in perspective. They help emphasize the positive things while giving negative events less importance, which keeps you motivated. It becomes easier to deal with each setback, and most importantly, you get more out of your life with an upbeat attitude. That is not to say that pessimistic individuals have to adopt a happier mindset in order to lead a successful and fulfilling lifestyle. Everyone has their own way of looking at the world around them, but pep talks are an easy way to ensure a balance in perspective and a source of encouragement.