The world you live in is different from mine. That’s not code for socioeconomic status, marital status, or any other situational “thing”.
Your world is seen through a filter guided by a narrative you are creating.
We all tell ourselves stories about the world. I wrote an article last year about a marketing tactic that made me angry. The local grocery store printed an unusually low price with a large font price printed for its wine. Below the price in a barely legible font size, are the words “when you buy 4”. Just below, printed in the same font is the price for 1 bottle; much higher. The same store has added 12 packs of premium beer to this tactic. I see this and immediately lose trust. I see the store trying to “trick” me. My internal voice starts to update my “narrative”. It’s like Jimminy Cricket teaching me the ways of life. Mr. Cricket tells me that customers are so savvy these days. Costco, Bevmo, and even Amazon are all undercutting local grocers and each other. Wine still costs to produce, ship, and market. The stores MUST find ways to get savvy customers to pay more for wine. This tactic must work since they keep doing it. My lovely wife, Jamie, sees this exact situation but has a completely different conclusion. Her narrative, her “Jamie-ney Cricket”, tells her a story of kindness and opportunity. She sees the store working hard to find opportunities for the customer to save money. “Unfortunately they can’t pass savings on for just 1 bottle, but who needs just 1 bottle of a good wine anyway?”
Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)
Your narrative forms your outlook on life. It passively changes through experience over time. Someone blessed with opportunity and seemingly constant fortune and good luck will most likely have a much more positive narrative than the hardened, out of work, disabled war veteran.
This blog and your life are not about living “passive lives”. Your success, your “awesome” comes from “intentional living”. You can change your narrative, thus changing your attitude. I have decided to make 2014 the year I get intentional about changing my narrative. Here is a list of 3 things I am doing to re-write my story:
- Loose the victim status. Read my article on characters to learn more. I simply change the subject internally as the victim starts to show up. While this is not always easy, it has already started to change my view on things.
- I am re-writing stories about people/companies I had negative thoughts about. Being angry at the grocer over wine prices is a waste of time and energy. It is reasonable that Jamie’s point of view is actually legitimate. It is certainly a better story than mine. Anyhow, what’s really the worse that can happen? I pay 3 bucks more for a 12 pack of beer. It’s still great beer.
- Re evaluate my influences. I’ve hear it said that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Often times I get negative or gossipy and realize that I am the instigator. Sometimes its the other person. Usually a re direction of the conversation changes the mood. It really works the same with other people as it does in your own narrative.
You tell yourself multiple stories everyday. As you seek to achieve the awesomeness we both know you were meant to, you must be in control of the “pen”. Your story must be one in which you win, learn from mistakes, and are worthy of the task at hand. Start with a positive story about the world around you. A positive “you” will attract more positive people. We know from experience (and this post) that it’s much harder to be positive than negative. This means that positive people are working hard, living intentionally, and can bring that “average of 5” up a bit.
Think about 2 things in your world that you believe to be true because that’s your story. Shake it up a little and question the characters in that narrative. Start simple (like Target is better than Walmart). Dig a little deeper as things become more clear to you. Share your thoughts.