Welcome back to the Growing Tree of Life, our weekly exploration of personal growth and well-being.
Trees floating in the air with soil carved around the roots to spell the word GROW.

Just a few stories... Or are they?

Issue Number: #064
Date: 11 April 2024
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Hello , did you know that our lives are shaped by stories?

And I don't mean stories presented in books, movies, media, or the ones we are fed by politicians. Yeah, these stories affect our lives too. But there are other stories that have much bigger impact on how our lives turn out.

Stories made up by our minds.

In our daily lives, every decision we make, every thought we have, is driven not by solid facts but by the stories we create in our minds.

Our minds are not designed to keep us happy. They are designed to keep us alive. I might have mention this a few times already in previous newsletters. And I surely will again. Because this is a fact that matters. And it is directly responsible for what stories do we not only tell ourselves but actually live by.

What do I mean?

Our brains are wired to think in stories, not cold logic. The tales we tell ourselves are influenced by many factors, but the most important thing is that the stories we tell ourselves are shaping how we see the world and make choices.

Imagine getting a vague text like "Today, 6 o'clock, videocall."

No really. Imagine that. Stop reading and think for a moment that you got that message. What is going on in your head?

Most likely the first thing that popped in your head was a question, "Who sent it?" Your interpretation depends on facts you are aware of (like who sent it, if you expected that person to send it, and your past experiences aka. if you've been there before, how that occasion went, etc.). But that's not all. There is a second part involved in our thinking. [drumrolls please]
A lot of guesswork.

“In the absence of data, we will always make up stories. In fact, the need to make up a story, especially when we are hurt, is part of our most primitive survival wiring.
Mean (aka. meaning) making is in our biology, and our default is often to come up with a story that makes sense, feels familiar, and offers us insight into how best to self-protect.”
― Brené Brown, Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution.

If you are waiting for that message, you will have a lot of data available so the story will be mostly based on that data. But if that message is unexpected your brain will create different story based just on the identity of the sender. Test it.

Just imagine these scenarios.
Out of a blue you will get text "Today, 6 o'clock, videocall" from your
  • parent or sibling
  • boss
  • teacher of your kid
  • a friend you didn't spoke to for a few days
  • a friend you didn't spoke to for a decade
  • a random stranger you chatted with on social media
  • unknown number
Remember that you have no other info. (I'll wait)

Did your brain create different scenarios?

I bet it did. Your brain used available data and filled the blanks based on who sent the text and what are your experiences with that person. Our minds fill in the gaps with stories, even when we lack clear facts.

Why is this important?

Stories create perception of reality. Our perceptions can lead us astray. A simple gesture, like someone raising their hand in a car beside you, can be misread as rudeness when they're just scratching their cheek. Our minds often see what they expect, not always what's true. They influence our perception.

You know that one thing you always wanted to do? That thing you would do if you had enough time or money. But you always let it be because it's not that important and there are always other things you have to do.

What's the first thing that came to your mind when you read previous paragraph? That thing is not the story, it's a dream. It's something you long to do. But do you know what is the story?

"I don't have enough time. I don't have enough money. It's not important enough to warrant all that expense or effort. It's just a silly dream."

We often hold ourselves back with stories like "I don't have enough time or money." These narratives prevent us from chasing our dreams. They create self-limiting beliefs.

What to do?

We can always check if the story we tell ourselves is true, helpful, and By pausing to consider the story, we can redirect our paths. If you don't stop and think for a moment, you might create a completely wrong idea of what's happening, leading to issues for both you and others.

The way to create a new reality in your life is to identify and (if needed) rewrite the story you tell yourself about your current situation and your life as a whole. The tool used for that is reflection and conscious creative dreaming.

Yeah, it's imagination and/or visualisation. I just wanted to sound smart here. But hey: "conscious creative dreaming". You have to admit that it does sound good. Anyway...

Our lives are shaped by the stories we believe. By challenging and reshaping these stories, we can design a more fulfilling and authentic life. The words have power, especially if coupled with emotions. Crafting a narrative that reflects your true self is quite a hack.

My tip for today is:

If you want to have a happy, successful, and abundant life, always check that the story you're telling yourself in any situation is true.

If it's not, change the story and you'll change your life.

This is the easiest way to change our lives – by changing the stories we tell ourselves. Words are important, and the story you tell yourself, especially if it's charged with emotions, will shape your life.

That's everything from me today, .
Until next time, may your stories be honest, your choices informed, and your life a reflection of who you are.

See you next Thursday!


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