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Dr. Ethan Kross on the Hidden Power of Our Inner Voice

Today I am joined on the Pasion Struck podcast by the award-winning psychologist and author Dr. Ethan Kross, who reveals the hidden power of our inner voice and how we can harness it to live healthier, more satisfying, and more productive lives. Dr. Kross is the author of “Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It.

What is Our Inner Voice?

The “inner voice” refers to the thoughts and mental dialogue we continuously have with ourselves. It can include conscious reflections on our experiences, emotions, beliefs, and unconscious or automatic thoughts. These internal conversations can take the form of self-talk, self-reflection, self-directed thoughts, or inner monologue. The inner voice can be both positive and negative, significantly shaping our emotions, behaviors, and overall well-being.

From a young age, we are taught to seek answers from external sources, such as our parents and the world around us. However, we can learn to trust our inner wisdom and strength. This inner guidance is often only discovered during difficult times when we realize that relying on our own abilities alone is not enough. True success comes when we turn to a higher power for guidance and solutions.

I think it’s doing a disservice to the complexity of human life to suggest that there’s this one magic pill you could take that will help you deal with all of your emotions and all situations.

Dr. Ethan kross

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Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPodcast Addict, Pocket CastsStitcherCastboxGoogle PodcastsListen NotesAmazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube below.


In This Episode, Dr. Ethan Kross And I Discuss His Bestselling Book “Chatter” and the Power of Our Inner Voice

We all have an inner voice that we can use to evaluate our actions, learn from past mistakes, and better prepare for the future. Unfortunately, this voice often turns into a stream of negative thoughts and emotions. And rather than help us improve, it can hold us back by causing rumination, anxiety, and even self-sabotage. What if you could tame and properly harness your inner voice and enjoy the many benefits of self-reflection and introspection while significantly reducing unproductive and negative self-talk?

Ethan Kross delves into the inner dialogue we engage in with ourselves. Through research from his lab and real-world examples, such as a struggling pitcher and a spy balancing her dual identities, Kross demonstrates how these internal conversations shape our lives, careers, and relationships. He cautions that succumbing to negative self-talk, referred to as “chatter” by Kross, can harm our physical and mental health, undermine our mood, damage our social connections, and make us falter under stress.

The interview with Ethan Kross covers the following subjects:

  • While Introspection Is Often Helpful, Chatter Is Not
  • Create Mental Distance To Get A Better Perspective
  • Seven Powerful Techniques For Creating Distance
  • What makes motivation effective vs. not.
  • Why do we tend to self-sabotage?
  • Why we are effective at mowing ourselves down
  • Does free will exist?
  • How to get rid of inner voice aftermath of trauma
  • The fallacy of thinking that negative emotions are bad for us.
  • We’re not designed to always be focusing on the here and now
  • Why we can’t control our emotions
  • The problem with distraction is that it can be a blunt tool.
  • And much, much more!
  • Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share? Drop us a line at [email protected]m!
  • And much more…
245 | The Hidden Power of Our Inner Voice | Dr. Ethan Kross | Passion Struck with John R. Miles

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Starter Packs

Quote by Ethan Kross from the Passion Struck Podcast, "We're born into the world with this remarkable set of tools - our emotions. But we don't get a user's manual that teaches us how to use those tools."

New to the show? These Starter Packs are collections of our most popular episodes grouped by topic, and we now have them also on Spotify. To find your old favorites, you can also browse starter packs for existing listeners. Every week, John interviews everyday heroes from all walks of life. Learn how to subscribe to the show and never miss a new episode and topic.

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More From My Interview With Dr. Ethan Kross

During our interview, I asked Ethan how we maintain our moral compass when measuring our inner voice against our actions.

Chatter by Dr. Ethan Kross for the Passion Struck podcast book list

Ethan Kross explains, “Well, that’s a great question. So I think the moral compass is a set of beliefs that we have about how to live a good life, at least in the way I would define it. So how do you know the difference between what’s right and wrong? And when you’re judging, your behavior is giving you a readout on whether you are following that compass or deviating from it, and I think when we detect deviations.

The challenge is to bring us back on track, and your inner voice can be really helpful in that regard. Because of your inner voice and your ability to motivate us, we use our inner voice to motivate us and problem-solve. When we detect something’s wrong, like now, let’s devise a plan and a solution to get us back on track. So I think having a moral compass is essential, and the inner voice is a way of keeping it properly tuned to where it should be heading.

Thanks, Dr. Ethan Kross

If you enjoyed this interview with Ethan Kross, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending her a quick shout on Twitter:

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Click here to let John R. Miles know about your number one takeaway from this episode!

And if you want us to answer your questions or you have a topic you would like John to discuss on one of our upcoming weekly Momentum Friday episodes, drop us a line at [email protected].

Resources From The Show With Dr. Ethan Kross

Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Passion Struck podcast receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you so much for being so supportive!


The University of Michigan Emotion and Self-Control Lab

The Chatter Quiz

Chatter Book Review



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My interview with NYU Stern School of Business Professor Scott Galloway on Why America is Adrift:

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About Today’s Guest, Dr. Ethan Kross

Passion Struck podcast album cover with Dr. Ethan Kross episode 245 on the power of our inner voice

Ethan Kross is a renowned authority on managing the conscious mind. He is a distinguished professor, award-winning author, and the head of the Emotion & Self Control Laboratory at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on how the internal conversations people have with themselves affect their physical and mental health, performance, decision-making, and relationships. He is also the author of the bestselling book Chatter and is based in the University of Michigan’s highly-ranked Psychology Department and Ross School of Business.

Ethan has been invited to participate in policy discussions at the White House and has been featured on various media outlets such as CBS Evening News, Good Morning America, Anderson Cooper Full Circle, and NPR’s Morning Edition to discuss his research. His work has also been covered in several prominent publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The New England Journal of Medicine and Science.

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John R. Miles is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of Passion Struck. This full-service media company helps people live intentionally by creating best-in-class educational and entertainment content. John is also a prolific public speaker, venture capitalist, and author named to the ComputerWorld Top 100 IT Leaders.

John is the host of the PassionStruckPodcast. The show focused on exploring the mindset and philosophy of the world’s most inspiring people to learn their lessons to living intentionally. Passion Struck aspires to speak to the humanity of people in a way that makes them want to live better, be better and impact.

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