Myron Tribus states that there is no such thing as immaculate perception—that what you see is what you thought before you looked. This is particularly the case regarding stereotyping and perceptions, especially about ourselves.
If a student receives a below average score on a test, the self-talk may be, “I’m just not good in this subject.” On the other hand, the self-talk can be, “I guess I’ll have to study more next time.” The difference is in the student’s perception. A similar situation can be with stereotyping oneself. For example, a woman who believes that women do worse than men in math will tend to perform less well on math tests as a result. Notice that this comparison was made between men and women.
With whom the comparison is made has a significant affect. Take a “scientific type person” and an “artistic type person.” Each may have higher self-confidence in one category than in the other. This self-confidence has a significant influence on a person’s success in the category, whether it be in a lab experiment or performing on a stage.
Comparing, stereotyping, and perceptions all have to do with self-talk. This is the reason that my education book opens with the following few sentences: Life is a conversation. Interestingly, the most influential person we talk with all day is ourself, and what we tell ourself has a direct bearing on our behavior, our performance, and our influence on others. In fact, a good case can be made that our self-talk creates our reality.
Being conscious of our self-talk can significantly reduce negative stereotyping, negative perceptions, and comparing oneself to others.