“Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, the power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts.”
A. Salman Rushdie
Have you ever sat in a restaurant observing the other people around you and all of a sudden you start to making up a story about them. For example, you see a couple basically sitting in each others laps unable to keep their hands to themselves and you think, “Dating, definitely not married, no more than 2 months, met online on one of those dating sites, etc.” Or maybe you see an older couple eating in silence, “Married at least 35 years, not happy, wishing they were some place else, probably stayed together for the kids, etc.”
I know what you’re saying, I’ve never done that … right?
The reality is that we make up stories about a lot of things. Stories about our jobs, our customers, our coworkers, selling, our spouses or partners, we even have stories about ourselves. “I grew up in a lower middle class family, my parents never (fill in the blank)” “I was born into a strict, catholic, family” “I am the child of an alcoholic” “I was a latchkey kid” and on and on and on. Some of us have told our story so many times that we’re sick of telling it. Guess what? People are sick of hearing it!
Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, The Mastery of Love, and a number of other books, talks about rewriting your story. You see when you change your story you can change your life! Start by reflecting back and instead of focusing on what is wrong, look at all that is and was right and good. Look for the qualities, characteristics, gifts, and all of the things that make you special and unique. The things and events that have made you who you are today and and then rewrite your story!
Yes, you have the ability to go back and rewrite your story. I’m not saying to make stuff up like you grew up in a magical castle and were raised by tinker bell. But you can shift the way you look at things:
- I used to say I grew up with parents who stifled me. Now I say I grew up in a family where my parents loved me and I turned out damn good.
- I used to say that we didn’t have a lot of money growing up. Now I say my parents loved us so much that they sent myself and my 2 brothers to private schools because they wanted the very best for us.
- I used to say I would change x,y, and z, and now I say that I wouldn’t change a thing … it was perfect because it got me right here, right now!
When you realize that you choose your story and all the details in it, you become free to rewrite a comedy, an adventure, a love story, a success story, etc. BTW please don’t write a tragedy the world has enough of those!
The same theory applies to all of the actors, roles, and the details of your story. Here’s a few examples:
- Your current job… Can be the death of you or it can be the best teacher in the world.
- Prospecting … Can be the most dreaded activity in the world or it can be simply having conversations to discover new opportunities.
- Selling … Can be the toughest job in the world or it can be a way to make unlimited income.
- Your Spouse … Can be the bane of your existence or they can be the person that can teach you the real meaning of the word love.
- Your Boss … they can be the cause of all of your problems at work or they can be the one lesson you still need to learn.
Bottom Line: The choice is up to you. You hold the pen to your own story. So why not write a best seller!