So said Macbeth describing life as a shadow play of futility. Earlier in the same speech he talks of how “all our yesterdays… light the way to dusty death”. Whilst this perspective isn’t exactly overflowing with positivity, it does reveal the underlying truth that our life’s story is more a tale of what we tell ourselves than it is an insightful documentary of what really happened.
This is important because the story you tell yourself about your past becomes the narrative of your future. It creates for you your understanding of how the world works and how you work in it.
All to often this is a tale told by an idiot!
All to often the truth of what really happened, what you really did, and what you’re really capable of, gets lost in the stories you make up about what happened. The event itself disappears, what remains is the story, and with every retelling it carves deeper and deeper patterns in your psyche. True or false, this story determines how likely you are to achieve your own ‘happy ever after.’
So how does this work, and more importantly what do we miss out on as a result?
As we experience events in our lives these events do one of two things, they either confirm or confound beliefs we hold about ourselves and our world. When the event confirms the way the world works for us, it grooves more deeply those neural networks that form our beliefs and values. “Phew” we think, “the world works how I expect, at least that’s ok!”
However when the event confounds our beliefs and values it confuses us. In the face of this confounding confusion we either make up a story that lets everything fit together, or we simply delete the experience. In both cases we miss out on the chance to spark innovation, creativity, and the reinvention that would give us a lifetimes worth of new opportunities and possibilities.
And because the beliefs we hold are themselves the sons and daughters of earlier stories we made up, you can begin to see how self-fulfilling this cycle mythology can become.
Your story, and the way you tell it to yourself really matters.
So what is your true story and what is the story you are making up? An even more important question is what difference would it make to start telling yourself and others the true story? What would it be like to look back differently on the tales you’ve told yourself and in that retelling, open up new ways to define who you are and just what you are capable of achieving?
The experiences we have and the stories we tell ourselves about them, can and should be used to celebrate our extraordinariness, reinforce our self-beliefs and bring whole constellations of opportunities and possibilities sharply into focus.
How about trying this… how about going back into the library of your life experience with the intention of actively looking for the evidence of your own extraordinariness. You will be amazed at what you find there, waiting to be uncovered.
Bring these golden nuggets into the light and let them shine. They are what you did do, did achieve and were capable of. This treasure trove of personal resourcefulness is yours… it is you. It tells you what you can achieve, and will do if you make up your mind that that’s how the story goes.
So… what is your story? What stories are in the library of your life’s experience? And how are you telling your story to yourself and others. Is it a “tale told by an idiot” as Shakespeare’s Macbeth put it, or is it the hero’s story?
The choice is yours and the answer lies waiting for you. Enjoy discovering just how extraordinary you actually already are.