The Story We Tell Ourselves
The story we tell ourselves. How does our story affect our everyday life? Why is it important to be mindful of the story we tell ourselves? Can we change our story?
We all attach ourselves to a story. It becomes the identity of our Self, forming who we are, or who we think we are. It is our internal narrative or dialogue used to guide our beliefs, behaviors and our life that can have both positive and adverse impact on the reality we live.
Our story is our reality! If we don’t like it, we can change it. And in changing it, we can thrive.
I wrote this article some time ago. Now that I am a lot clearer on my own story and knowledgeable on how our story plays a part in the construction of our reality I wish to revisit it and rewrite it without taking away too much of my original thought.
When we attach ourselves to a story, it can often become an excuse for as to remain as we are. A reason why we continue to do as we have always done, believe as we always have and live a particular type of reality – one which we may like or dislike.
Our story becomes our mindset. There are victim mindsets, growth mindsets, fixed mindsets, mindsets or abundance and mindsets of scarcity. Some mindsets are progressive, and some are limiting.
The mind is the greatest determiner of our reality, and for this reason, it is important to understand how we influence and create powerful mindsets. From what I have learned our brain and mind is a construction of all past experiences to date. Wired by our genetics, cultural and environmental surroundings and our biological system.
The brain is a highly efficient structure designed using algorithms that better able our chances of success – our ability to survive. Constructed through a life of experiences.
I know it is more complicated than what I have just explained, but I believe that understanding any concept at its most basic and fundamental level will benefit us.
A story is a creation using any information available. The stories we use to navigate our lives are creations of the mind assembled using the information we have gathered throughout our lives.
Just as the brain can be wired in unfavorable ways so are the stories we use. Even if we don’t like the story we are living, it can be difficult to change. It is more comfortable because it is more known to stick to the story we already know than trying to create new ones.
Our stories can trap us in life. Our history is a significant determiner of our future, and the best way to alter our possible futures is by disrupting our story. Deconditioning and nonconforming.
It was Napoleon Hill who said, that whatever the mind sees and believe it achieves. Whatever you think about the most you become.
What you focus on the most is what you get. The story we tell ourselves is who we become and defines the reality we live. The question I often reflect upon is why we would attach ourselves to stories that don’t allow us to live the kind of life we desire? Why stick to something that is causing us unnecessary dissatisfaction or suffering?
I have told myself plenty of stories in the past that were limiting. I still find myself holding onto stories that aren’t favorable. I am now at least more aware of the fact that they are just stories and if they are limiting I have the power to change them. It may be hard to believe this at first, but in practice and experiencing positive change, your belief will grow.
The story I write now is entirely made up. Conjured up in thoughts and perspectives of the mind. A story. They are a mere representation of the information available put into a form fit for a particular purpose.
Stories are used to entertain, find meaning, to educate, to create a reason or purpose, to procrastinate or find an excuse. They can be false, true, imaginary or real. It is our cognitive ability that has to lead to a creation of the world that is formed and operates on stories. From religious beliefs to the state of the economy. Our reality is one giant story.
I can tell you a story of a time I escaped the ferocious jaws of a crocodile when attacked while swimming in the Daintree River in Far North Queensland, Australia. A great story that by using real life experience and knowledge I could create it so vividly that some of you may even believe it.
Right or not, the point is that we all tend to create stories that become the benchmark for who we are and the life we live. There is truth in the information that we draw on to make a story but not necessarily in the assembly itself. And while the information or facts used might be real, if they cause us dissatisfaction why use them? Why not search for information that is more conducive to a reality we appreciate?
I grew up in Far North Queensland. I had encounters with crocodiles, although my life has never been threatened. I have heard plenty of stories of people who have been attacked. I can adapt this information, twist it, change it, reformulate it and based on my story telling skill I could have others believe it.
I don’t see any purpose of benefit in telling such a story but if there were it would be easy enough to do. We use stories to have us move towards ideal or pleasurable circumstances or to avoid undesirable situations, pain or displeasure.
We can better visualize possible futures by reflecting back on the imagery of our past. Visualization is a powerful method in guiding our lives. Building our stories using visuals of the past is easy. Creating new visuals is not but necessary if we wish to walk new paths in life.
I have a clear enough vision of a time I stood in my grade 11 class in High School nervously attempting to deliver a short 3-minute speech. I fumbled and performed terribly. I remember being so uncomfortable and what made matters worse was the girl that I was very fond of was sitting in the audience looking more nervous than me. I didn’t think sweating, shaking, and looking very awkward would help my chances with her.
This experience didn’t help my confidence with girls or in public speaking. I used this moment and many other failed attempts in delivering speeches as my benchmark. If forming the story that I sucked at public speaking and for that reason should avoid it at all costs.
It wasn’t until later in life when I was little wiser and mature and was getting paid to speak that I had to change this story. The story was causing so much fear that it was unbearable.
I had to seek new information, create new visuals of possible outcomes, to reduce this fear and allow me to perform better in delivery. Not only did it work but I discovered a new passion for speaking. We can change our stories regardless of the past.
It seems to me to that we often focus more heavily on the negative stories of our past than the positive ones. We rely on the negative parts of our history to avoid moving towards favorable futures rather than looking for our positive stories or experiences to push us forward.
In my entrepreneurial journey, it is easy for me to construct a story in which I tell myself that I am useless at making money based on a continued string of failed attempts. And I have many of them. However, it is more beneficial to visualize all the success I’ve had at being able to make a dollar than the failures. And I’ve proven my ability to this time and time again.
I became the richest kid in primary school after I went into production making marble necklaces and selling them for two dollars a pop to every kid at school. There was a time I took a bus of Japanese students on a paid sightseeing tour to a place I’d never traveled before myself. To starting an outsourcing business online. I’ve always found a way to make money.
Stories of failure help us learn but often don’t help us progress. The stores of successes do. It is positive stories that raise our belief’s, increase our confidence and push us forward into new experiences. The more of these we have, the more information we expose our lives to and this can then be used in making more powerful and favorable stories that will benefit our future.
When telling ourselves that we “can’t” do something based on the past is not only irrelevant but also limiting to a creating a better tomorrow. I believe the greatest thing about this life is that we, and everything around us, are forever changing, including our story regardless of what influence we wish to have on it.
All the resources we need are in hands reach and available to us all. Change the information you expose yourself to by changing your experiences, and you can change your story. You can create a compelling story that will alter the reality you live.
I’ve met a girl and married. There was a time in my life that I thought I never would. The story impacted my chances and success in meeting someone. It wasn’t until I let go of that story that I started to meet girls.
I love public speaking to the point I get paid to speak. I still find myself fearful of standing in front of a crowd but more so now because I am passionate about what I talk on and don’t want to let the audience down in delivery.
As far as making a dollar and living an entrepreneurial lifestyle I am still not perfect or where I want to be, but I don’t let my negative stories of the past hold my progression back. The reality is that I am living the kind of lifestyle that I desire because of my skill in meeting my families financial needs.
So what story are you telling yourself today? Are they helping you live the life you wish for or are they in some way holding you back? Try letting go of the ones you don’t appreciate and try hold onto those that you do. If you feel you don’t have any, then make them up.
Remember that all good stories were created. Just as our brain is a construction of our past, we know it permanent. The studies into neuroplasticity are proving this. Just as the stories we attach ourselves are a creation of the past we know that the past of tomorrow will entirely depend on what we do now. If you don’t like it, change it! Do something different today.