Stories. They shape everything we do. They shape everything we believe.
Whether it’s a story on the news about the latest epidemic that sends us into a mild panic. Or a story in a magazine about the green smoothie that makes us feel guilty.
It could be an Instagram story that reminds us how perfect someone else’s life is or the Snapchat story that reminds us how weird our friends are.
What about the story on the latest successful startup, or the story on how you too can live the life of your dreams and own your time if you simply sign up for this offer?
Yeah, nah, these so-called ‘stories’ never show the full story.
They’re little tidbits of information which, taken out of context, manifest a story. And this story becomes something we start to tell ourselves. We start to believe that story.
Then when you compound that over months and years shit starts to get really crazy. All of a sudden we have stories that are so deeply ingrained in our minds that we believe them to be fact. The ones narrated by the voice in our heads and seemingly validated by society.
Like the story we need to memorise facts in order to learn, or the story we need get amazing grades to succeed. The story we need to travel, or the story we should stay put and buy a house. The story everyone has their shit figured out and the story that so should you.
Then there’s the story we’re not good enough or the story we’re not smart enough. The story we’re not fit enough, or the story we’re not happy enough. The story we’re not rich enough, or the story we’re not attractive enough.
Consider the story of our boss always being right, or the story “that’s how we’ve always done things around here.” How far did that story get the New York City Taxi service when Uber and Lyft came to town?
Because like written stories that are sent to book publishers, not all stories are fact. They’re stories after all. And stories get fabricated and taken out of context.
So what would it look like if we relaxed these stories? If we thought of them not as facts or matters of truth?
Would we listen as intently to the voice inside our head if we thought of the stories as tales? Or fables?
What about myths, anecdotes, opinions or observations? Might we feel some of that weight start to lift off our back?
Stories can be pretty heavy and cumbersome after all. Just ask Microsoft about the story they told themselves about iPhones in 2007.