Self-talk can help people redirect their attention focused on themselves to the tasks they are working on with important consequences for their task performance. Across four experiments and two different types of languages, Turkish and Slovak, people describing their own behaviors to themselves, as well as merely reading or writing sentences depicting some fictitious events, in the passive (vs. the active) voice performed better on various tasks of motor and verbal performance. The effect was present to the extent that people maintained their control over task-distracting thoughts or felt more responsible for their task success/failure. In sum, talking about task behaviors in the passive voice may increase the perceived role of task-related factors while decreasing the role of agent-related factors in achieving task success, whereby the task focus, hence performance, increases. The results are important for understanding the role of self-talk in performance with implications for changing important outcomes. Copyright (c) 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.