What’s your story?
What’s your story? The stories we tell ourselves about why we can or can’t do something or have something have a huge impact on our lives.
There’s a quote from Henry Ford that really appeals to me:
“If you think you can do a thing, or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
It’s a funny thing, the mind.
We all know people who are so full of self-belief that they have no qualms putting themselves forward for all kinds of things regardless of whether their actual ability lives up to what is required. Equally, we also know people who are brim-full of talent yet think they simply aren’t good enough so keep themselves well out of the limelight.
Who do you think is happier? The person out there grabbing life by the horns or the person hiding away?
I know who my money would be on…
So what we think we can or can’t do effectively turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Which is what old Henry was getting at.
It’s not the level of ability that determines their confidence but the difference between how these two people think, crucially, the stories they’re telling themselves, that propels them forward or holds them back.
Stories are powerful.
Stories are also just stories.
Creations, not facts.
Instead of just accepting them as fact it’s really worth investigating why you’re telling yourself this story.
Is it because you don’t want to get out of your comfort zone?
Is it because of a bad experience in your past?
Is it because you’re scared of what people might say or think of you? (So common this one… this is the bogeyman that’s out to get me more often than I’m prepared to admit!)
When you dig down into the undergrowth of your story, it can bring with it an awareness that you didn’t have before. Asking yourself why you feel that way and being really honest with your answer will give you a greater depth of understanding of yourself. It will also undermine the roots of your story and make it less stable – a little more work and it could crumble altogether… and potentially open the door to new experiences.
While stories may be powerful, knowledge of yourself is a worthy combatant.
So be curious. Ask yourself what it is that you’re scared of. Become your own Sherlock and poke around and see if you can work out why.
Once you become aware of what is holding you back that’s the first step to doing something about it.
And that’s a step towards a happier, more fulfilling life.