A few months ago, while traveling to the airport on a rental car shuttle, I engaged two gentlemen in conversation. One of them spoke of being a 42 year old boxer wanting to make a comeback. He then continued the story and talked about what happened to him 20 years ago that stopped him from getting back in the ring. He sunk low in his seat, exhaled and gazed out of the window in a state of mild depression.
Now pseudo depressed himself, the other gentleman looked at me and asked, “So….what’s your story?” I said, “I don’t have a story.” He said, “Everyone has a story.” I said, “You mean the story I tell myself over and over again that keeps me from living the life I want? I’m sorry, I don’t have one of those.” He said, “There has to be something. No one has a perfect life.” I said, “Yes, we all have a story, I have decided to use positive stories to empower me and not live in the negative ones.”
“If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.”
– African Proverb
My uncommon response stunned them, but it was my choice as to whether or not I would join their pity party, and I chose not to. I chose not to allow others to create stress and anxiety in my life as I was celebrating a beautiful day. How many times do we allow others to engage us and ruin a great day by touching the unresolved pain points we carry with us.
“Why do we think we are being properly philosophical when we give ourselves and others excuses for failure which will not hold water? No one truly consoles themselves by considering that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, that to travel hopefully is better than to arrive, that half-a-loaf is better than no bread. We deceive no one, although our compromises and excuses are accepted by our fellows as long as they are in the same boat. The successful man or woman….have the best of evidence that the rewards of well-directed activity far surpass all the by-products of failure, that the one infinitesimal accomplishment in reality is worth a mountain of dreams.” – Dorothea Brande
At what point did we become stuck in our stories and not move forward? It’s like a tangled web of circumstances that have been weaved around us that offer no escape.
“True forgiveness is knowing the past couldn’t have been any different.” – Oprah
A few years ago, there was a turning point where I chose to become responsible for my life, feelings, and how I allowed others to make me feel. Once I took control of my mind, (one few things we were given at birth) the sad, depressing and negative stories went away. I was able to eliminate stress and anxiety from my life, simply by focusing on becoming a better version of myself and not paying attention to how other people live their lives.
Old children’s books were based on heroes and characters that used their powers to save the day. The book is called, “The Little Engine That Could” and not, “The Little Engine That Couldn’t Because He Ran Out Of Coal” or “The Little Engine That Couldn’t Because One of His Wheels Fell Off.”
A lot of emotions can be triggered by self-talk and the voice in your head. You know the one I’m talking about….the tyrant that talks to you the moment you decide to step outside of your comfort zone and do something new. The voice that shows up and tells you that you don’t know what you are doing, you will fail or you’re a loser. Sometimes, its beats you down, and talks you out of doing something before you even begin. Yes, THAT voice. Self-talk (self-criticism) is one of the most destructive behaviors/habits that we have. There is an on-going story in most of our heads that reflect our reality or our greatest fears.
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” – Mark Twain
He may have been referring to his self-talk.
If you choose to take control of your mind, the voice in your head can be trained. It will take some time to retrain the voice, but if you are still living next year, the time will pass anyway. Why not use it to better your life? If you recognize there is a voice talking to you, what’s the harm in talking back to it? Haa haa! Some people may reject that notion immediately, but is it better to talk back to the voice in your head and fight for the life you want, than to let it control you and live in misery.
Let’s test it. Please repeat the following statements that pertain to you aloud and internalize them if they are things you really want. Pause….and observe what the voice says to you.
- I want a better job.
- I want to be healthier.
- I want to make more money.
- I want to be happier.
- I want better relationships with my family and friends.
Was the voice supportive? Did it say something you didn’t agree with? Would you have liked a better response? Again, it is possible to reprogram your mind, but you will have to become more aware of what you are saying to yourself, so you will need to become an observer.
Imagine your mind as a tape recorder. You are the tape recorder and not the tape. If you choose, you can eject the current tape and replace it with another one that tells the story of the life you want.
In the phenomenal book Pyscho-Cybernetics, Dr. Matthew Maltz gives 5 Steps for Reprogramming the voice. Observing your inner voice, when it says something negative, do the following (CRAFT):
- Cancel – say it aloud
- Replace – with positive data
- Affirm – the new image you desire
- Focus – 10 mins daily
- Train – yourself for lasting change.
When I first started practicing CRAFT, I would shout “cancel” aloud in the grocery store. Although I may have startled some of the people, they kept it moving and I became better for it. 😉
Dr. Maltz said, “Anything that has been learned can be re-evaluated and challenged. Anything that has been challenged can be “relearned” with new data to replace the old.”
Answer the following questions for yourself:
- What are some things you would like to change?
- Even if you had an actual event, incident or health condition that stopped you from achieving something, does telling the story over and over again (to yourself or others) serve you?
- When you retell the story, how does it make you feel?
- How many times have you told that story?
- Are you tired of hearing your own story or will it be your story until you pass on into the next life?
When you aren’t stuck in a story, you will have the ability to create a new life, with richer experiences, with less baggage, more sunlight, better tasting food and fresher air. It’s MAGICAL and I wish it for the world!
Do you know someone that has been telling you the same story over and over again for months…years? Is the voice in your head nice to you or a tyrant? Will you test the 5 Steps To Reprogramming?
Christy Rutherford, an Executive Leadership Strategist, trains leaders on long-standing leadership principles to assist them with realizing their full potential and increase productivity. She also coaches Type A leaders who are suffering from burnout, which impacts their performance at work and home.
Download your free workbook: “Success Roadmap – 7 Powerful Ways To Get Clear On The Results You Desire” at www.christyrutherford.com
Check out the programs designed for you to manage your stress, reduce anxiety and significantly improve your life while you work to make a living. www.christyrutherford.com/programs
Watch this quick interview with Dr. Maxwell Maltz – Psycho Cybernetics