Ever since I got laid off from UPS while I was stuck living in my parents basement, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of a person’s “story.”
Really, I just wanted to figure out why mine was so bad, how I could make it better, and then actually get out and DO it.
As a side note: If you want the best book to help you start writing your own story – get it here. Don’t ask questions. Just read it.
It’s obvious that writing the whole story of your life is going to be quite “involved.” What’s interesting though, is that a massive percentage of your life will be completely played out and won (or lost) entirely by the tiny electrical pulses in your head.
That’s right, 99% of this stuff is ALL IN YOUR HEAD–including what your “story” currently is, and what it WILL be like in the future.
Now before you bail on me for going all Oprah on you, I’ll tell you right now that I’m not going to write about the “power of positive thinking,” “stepping into your authentic self” (I don’t even know what that even means) or “how ‘the secret’ will magically unlock things for you” (and if that IS the case, then why is everyone keeping it a secret? EVERYBODY WOULD NEED THAT!)
HOW and WHAT you think has a MASSIVE effect on how you actually execute your life in the world, and MASTERING YOUR MINDSET IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU WILL EVER FACE.
I’m going to be diving DEEP into resilience the first part of this year with a new podcast format we’re launching next week. Mindset will play a massive part of that.
The stories you tell yourself matter – why? Because the stories you tell yourself determine the actions you take. The actions you take affect how you experience life. What you experience (or think you experience), affects how you ultimately feel about yourself. And your story is largely based on what/how you feel about yourself.
In a very real way, the way you think your story will pan out, influences exactly how your story will pan out.
I’m going to break this down in the most non-gushy, self-help way possible.
It’s called “the story spiral”, because it either goes downhill quick, or you can decide to use it for good. This is how it works:
The Story Spiral
- Your starting story tells you that you’re not good at XYZ. It could be writing. It could be baseball. It could be ultra marathons. It could be whatever the heck you want it to be. [Insert your own demon here.]
- Your behavior and actions will reinforce that belief.
- That belief will literally limit you from changing anything about yourself, so no matter how hard you try, you don’t actually change.
- You feel “stuck.”
- Having proved yourself “right,” you reinforce your original belief and starting story. And the cycle begins again.
See this nice little drawing I made for you that illustrates this point exactly:
However, you CAN change your story. And it starts with a tiny bit of action preceded by a slice of mental fortitude. See below:
It’s not that what you think just magically happens. If that could happen, then we should be upset with all the kids in Africa for not thinking themselves out of hunger.
However – it does mean this:
Changing what you believe, WILL CHANGE how you act. Because of that, if you choose to believe that you are a person who learns quickly, changes, adapts, and improves at anything you set your mind to, you’ll be more likely to take actions that help you learn, change and improve who you are and help you do something impossible.
A few years back, I wrote about apathetic living & the edges of reality. At that point, I literally didn’t feel like I could do anything.
Nothing. Zilch. Nada.
So, I didn’t. I did exactly what I thought I could do. And boy did I live up to my perceived potential.
But then I started to ask “what if?” And as small of a question as that is, it started to change things slowly. It started with a stupid indoor triathlon, which grew over time, to a challenge to run an ultra marathon on every continent (only 6 to go!)
Whether you like it or not, you are the main character in the story of your life. Here’s a little secret: You’re also the author.
You’re going to face adversity. You’re going to wade through a bunch of crap. You’re going to have to do hard things, and you’ll have the choice to overcome, or not. Success starts in your head with what you believe…about you. What you think will become what you do.
The stories you tell yourself completely define how you live and how you experience life.
So what story are you writing? Or are you letting the story (or someone else) write for you?