5 Steps to Wipe the BS from Your Mind

Personal Development
Bullshit

Life sometimes has the tendency to not run the way we would like it to. There are obstacles in our ways, people are reacting differently than we want them to, and your boss or your spouse tells you to do things you don’t want to do.

Very often we are irritated by the situation we’re in. Then you don’t know why:

  • your boss yells at you early in the morning?
  • your partner snaps at you and gets angry (at least once a month when the moon waxes)?
  • you spill your coffee repeatedly during the morning commute?
  • you always meet the same potential partners with the same quirk like the last one?
  • your computer crashed again just seconds before you wanted to save that darn file?
  • and I could go on and on.

Don’t you sometimes dream about changing all of that? Don’t you sometimes dream of all this bad karma vanishing from you? Well, here is a surefire way to go…

Ask yourself how often circumstances have stressed you just slightly in the last 24 hours or last week. It is very often that your mind doesn’t know why something is happening, and that makes your mind mad. Your mind can’t stand it not to know why! So to escape that feeling of not knowing why something happened, it creates a “why”. It creates a story to connect the dots. Our mind is always trying to associate things, to give meaning to all the information that comes into our mind through our senses. And the best way to create that association is by defining a story. It looks at a fact and then creates an assumption that explains the fact. This assumption is very often a fictitious story, but it satisfies the need of the mind to have a reason for something to happen.

How Do Stories Work?

Here is how it works. It uses the facts and then creates a story to describe the why:

  • your boss yells at you – therefore he must not like you
  • your partner snaps at you – therefore you must have made something wrong
  • you spill your coffee – therefore you are ham-fisted
  • you always meet the same weird partners – therefore you have bad karma
  • your computer crashed again – again therefore you have bad computer-karma and all computers in the world decided to torture you or use you as an alien controlled experiment on how much frustration human beings can tolerate.

Now of course at least in the last example you saw that this story is just BS par excellence – but honestly are you really sure of that?

The problem with these stories is, that they satisfy the minds need for explanation in the short run, but they can be totally destructive for your own development. Why? Because, they tend to be disempowering. They tend to put you in a victim state, where you have no control over the situation, and you can just drown yourself in sorrow. But at least they feel right, because they give us an explanation, right?

Let me repeat it here:

We do make up stories for our memories of the past as well as for our future anticipation.

  • We think in stories. We don’t think in facts.
  • If a movie would just present facts our mind would go to sleep soon.
  • It is the same with our history (past, present and future).
  • We create a story around the facts that we remember from our past.
  • We create a story around the imagined and anticipated outcomes of the future.
  • And we also do create stories around what is happening right now to us.

How to Use Stories for Your Good?

Now you might say, that sounds nice, but unpractical. It is however ultra-practical. Because once you understand, that you are the creator of these stories, you understand, that you have the choice to change these stories.

You are the creator of your stories, and you can change them to empower yourself.

So whatever story you create from your life, does it empower you or do you feel disempowered through it. This is the key question. You cannot choose not to make up stories, your mind likes them to much, but you can, like a good movie director, select whether the story is useful for you.

Here are the steps to regain the power of stories and free your mind from all the BS it has built up

Step 1: Recognize, that you just made up a story

Recognize, that you don’t know what other people think. Recognize that you don’t know their real intentions or their agendas. Recognize that you never have all the facts in any given situation. Recognize that you just speculated to make up a story, to help you make sense of a situation, of your behavior or the behavior of other people.

Step 2: Find out, where your story is not consistent

Use doubt constructively. Look out for clues, where your story is not based on facts. Create doubt within you about the assumed motives of others, or about why something happened. One of the most potent weapons for this is to question yourself “Is that really true?”. You could ask yourself: “Is it really true, that my boss is an insensitive bastard, who eats nails for breakfast?”

Step 3: Drop the story and just list the facts

Once you created doubt, you are not so sure anymore about what you made up in your mind. Good. So then start to drop all of your assumptions and take a good look at the cold hard facts. Make a list (either on paper or mental) of them. What is really there without any speculation? Drop all imputed motives. What you don’t now as a fact should be dropped now.

Step 4: Create a new, alternative and empowering story

Since you are just assuming anyway, why don’t you assume for the best? Maybe the reason the boss yelled at you has nothing to do with you personally. Maybe he has a lot of stress in other areas of his life. Maybe it is a calling for help, and you can be the one to lighten his burden a bit. Now be careful this does not mean to only paint a rosy future. You still take all the facts in consideration and act accordingly. However your mind will still want to make up a story (that is the way it is designed), so make sure it is a story that empowers you, makes you feel good and allows you to be constructive with the given situation.

Step 5: Look out for clues, that confirm your new story

Now that you’ve created an alternative story in your mind, look out for clues that undermine this new story. Look out for the good in other people. Look out for the good motive behind your own behavior. Maybe you didn’t like it, but the intention of your subconscious to go for the candy bar was not to dumbfound you, but to make you feel good. Acknowledge that and take this to create even better ways to do it.›

With these 5 simple steps, you have the power in your hand to change perspectives easily and therefore become free to choose the best way to deal with any situation.

Become your own Spielberg and enjoy your stories.


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23 comments… add one
  • You have stated a profound story here Patrick. I’m not aware that my mind is making stories detrimental to my personal development. We all should be aware of this and try to look it in a different perspective. The steps you have provided above are well elaborated and we must choose to implement such in our life. 🙂

    • Patrick

      @Walter: Thank you – stories are so common to our daily life, that we often don’t have a clue how much influence they have over us. Good that you are more aware right now.

  • Awesome post Patrick. More often than we like it we make assumptions based on an event or action. Worst part, we usually make the assumption based on the events we do not like. As such, we create tend to create negative stories that do not exist other than in our little mind.

    • Patrick

      @Karlil: That is right, those stories are only in our heads and beside the basic facts, they are just fluff, but they shape our emotions and the way we deal with people. Changing the fluff / stories changes your state, your emotions and the way you think about a situation. And that allows you to come up with better and more creative solutions.

  • Patrick, this reminds me a bit of the way that changing the expression on your face changes your mood. Changing the story is like changing the expression on your inner face 🙂

  • Patrick, I agree that stories, much more than facts, are what educate, persuade, and teach us. So I was very interested in your idea that the stories we tell ouselves can do these positive things but can also hurt us. And then you take it a step further and suggest ways we can change the story so that we see ourselves as empowered, rather as as helpless victims. This is really useful, and I can’t wait to try to change one of the BS stories I’ve made up to explain something that happened to “poor me.” Thank you.

  • Patrick

    @Kye: Changing your physiology is working on the outside to change the inside.
    But this change is in the moment only. Working on your stories is working on the inside directly and the change you make here are not temporary fixes but changes on a root level.

  • Patrick

    @Madeleine: Good to see that I surprised you! And even better will it be to hear from you how you cleared that (and more) BS stories from your mind. Go for it.

  • Hey Patrick, I like the article and the advices you gave. In reality everything depends on the side we look at things.

    Oscar

  • Patrick

    @Oscar: Right, that’s why we like the good old Monty Phython Song “Always look on the bright side of life” so much.

  • Hi Patrick- great post. Definitely rings true.

    Love the line “Is it really true, that my boss is an insensitive bastard, who eats nails for breakfast? LOL

    Thanks
    Adrian

  • Don’t allow your mind to be filled with negative b.s. Its about changing your focus. Thinking positive is what it is all about. Turn off those negative thoughts by reading a book, or watching positive material. Remember it’s about shifting your focus, don’t listen to the b.s!

  • @Adrian: I hope you pictured it vividly lol

  • @jonathanfigaro: So true, but that is sometimes hard to do, since we are conditioned to do so. I guess not listening to it is nearly impossible. I believe that it is easier to retrain your pattern mechanism inside your mind. Changing stories is just one way to do it.

  • I think most of us are used to creating mini-stories in our mind when we procrastinate. Maybe the mini-bs-stories we believe in are so good that we procrastinate. In any case, it’s good to know when we create these stories so we can fully engage and rise above it.

    • Patrick

      @Ken Kurosawa: Procrastination is one way for us to deal with the feelings of being overwhelmed or feeling threatened. Creating stories around it are one way to soften the negative feeling of guilt for us, because we can rationalize our behavior.

  • Awesome article.
    I like that you have broken down this process of empowerment and provided for both the optimistic and realistic points.

    Keep up the great posts.

    • Patrick

      @Tyler McCann: Thanks. I try to make the process understandable and if you understand how it is build from the ground, then you are free to adapt it to your needs. Again, this site is to free you from any simple method following and allows you to make up (i.e unwrap) your own mind. Welcome here.

  • Thanks Patrick for vividly explaining aboyt our stories.

    I particularly resonate with point 5 – look for the good in other people.

    I would even say that assume that everyone is really doing the best they can.

    Louise Hay (author of “You can heal your life”) explains this by saying that people do the best they can at anytime based on their current level of awareness, knowledge and understanding.

    • Patrick

      @Arvind: That is a great point. Assuming that people will do their best (that they can at that time) will definitely lead to an enjoyment in life, that most people never dare to dream about.

  • Grammar Dude

    This is a brilliant post, but “people are reacting differently than we want them too” should be written “people are reacting differently than we want them to”. There are too many o’s on the word “too”. Thanks.

    • Patrick

      Thanks for catching this bug.

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