Everyone tells stories. Your life is shaped not by which stories are true, but by which stories you believe. What story do you tell yourself?
The only thing keeping you from having what it is you really want is the story you tell about why you can’t have it. — Tony Robbins
Human beings are natural storytellers. We hear stories from the moment we are born — even before we are born. Stories about how the world works, our history, and our place in the world. We hear stories about who we are and what we are capable of doing, having, achieving, and becoming.
From the moment we learn to talk, we tell stories. We tell stories about what things are, and what things mean, and how things work. And we tell stories about ourselves. We tell them to others in books, and in conversations, and online.
Most important, we tell stories to ourselves.
Stories Control You
The thing that’s keeping you small, that’s holding you back from what you desire, is a story.
Everything you believe about what is possible or isn’t possible, about best practices, about what works, what you should do, and what is necessary for you to create your vision. Your beliefs about your capacity and capabilities. All of this is based on stories.
Reasons are stories. Excuses are stories. Fears are stories.
All stories are lies
All stories are lies. Even stories based on facts.
Have you ever heard two people tell two different stories about the same event?
Every story is shaped to reveal just what the storyteller wants to reveal. Not all the facts get into a story. When crafting a news story, a journalist decides what facts to include and how to contextualize them. In writing a memoir, an author decides which elements to leave in and which to omit. In setting up a shot, a photographer chooses the angle and lighting that will create the visual story.
This is part of the craft of storytelling.
People who have the same experience tell completely different stories about it. How is this possible?
Same facts, different filter.
Stories are not facts. They are, at best, a subset of facts. Even a #nofilter photo has a filter. The filter is in the choice of what to share.
What stories do you tell yourself?
The stories we tell about and to ourselves are often based on the stories we were told by others: parents, teachers, friends, mentors, bosses, experts.
- What stories have others told you about who you are?
- What are the stories you tell others?
- What are the stories you tell yourself?
- Are these stories empowering you or limiting you?
Permission to question
Many of my clients are surprised to learn this: you have permsision to question the stories you hear and the stories you tell. Not just permission; it’s a requirement.
What would happen if you started to question the stories that other people tell you? What would happen if you started to question the stories you tell yourself?
What’s another story?
For every set of facts there are multiple stories you can tell.
I know you’re wondering: aren’t those stories lies, too?
Yes, of course they are. The point is that you have options.
You can choose a story that will empower you, instead of limit you. A story that will instill in you confidence and courage instead of fear and doubt. A story that will clear the path, instead of putting an obstacle in your way.
Human beings are storytellers. You are not restricted to the stories you’ve been told or to the stories you’ve been telling yourself. You get to choose the story you tell. Choose the story that works for you.
What story are you telling yourself about yourself and about others? What story do others tell you about you? What story do you choose to believe?