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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