Our life is a story that unfolds every day. The first chapters of my life were a combination of a roller-coaster and a bumpy-bump ride. If you are reading this and you don’t like where your life story is heading, continue reading.
I want to tell you good news.
You are the main actor in your story. You are also the scriptwriter and director. You have the power to change your stories and transform your life.
The Stories We Tell
You can change your stories if you know what stories you tell yourself.
I know of many people who limit their potential and steal from themselves every ounce of happiness by believing destructive stories about themselves.
Our life is filled with narratives. We tell stories to ourselves; oftentimes we repeat stories told to us by others.
Take the stories of Covid-19 for example.
We talk about it during lunchtime. To say that we are disappointed in the government’s complacency is an understatement.
We know that politics caused the challenges we are facing.
Our President parroted Donald Trump. His reasoning borders stupidity and intellectual laziness.
I think the situation favors his political ambitions.
The abysmal state of governance allows him and the oligarchs that surround him to place themselves in the best position when the pandemic is gone: to become super-rich and powerful.
Do you see what I just did?
I told you something real to me and many Filipinos.
What I told you is part of the narrative I read each day from decent and intelligent Filipinos.
I read them on Facebook. I read them from blogs and news agencies. But even then, this narrative isn’t the kind you get from Hollywood.
Filipinos are afraid of our government. And this makes me angry.
On the flip side, I can tell you another story.
It is the story of me planting vegetables. That we don’t worry much about the food that we eat.
Unlike many Filipino laborers who lost their jobs, we eat fresh and healthy foods every day.
You can also find these stories on Facebook. You will find people who started urban gardening and who are enjoying their produce.
I thought I could feed my friends with stories of gardening and baking and earning more money too.
I can tell stories of hope.
For example, I can tell you that I can help private schools create their online schools. They don’t have to spend buckets of money to provide students with the education they need. Using the resources available to them, they can create robust online school platforms.
They don’t know this because nobody is telling them.
It is my choice.
I can choose to focus on the positives without ignoring the negatives.
We can flip our life by changing our stories.
Start life afresh.
Create and find bounce-forward stories to be inspired. We can make our lives meaning full by choosing the stories we tell ourselves and others.
Do you want to know simple ways to change your stories?
I will teach you techniques that work. Keep in mind that most of our negative thoughts are influenced by how we feel about our experiences.
So, when you meet people who seem to “dwell” on negative thoughts, avoid judging them. What they feel is real to them. Try to sell to them the benefits of reframing their stories.
Often, they are not aware that they are sabotaging themselves.
Let me cite another example.
There are Filipinos who have grown the habit of putting themselves down. For example, we call Filipino Time the habit of being late for meetings.
It is as if only Filipinos come late. It is as if most of us deliberately choose to be late for meetings. This is far from the truth. But the narrative has been told many times that very few people question it.
Filipinos come too early for fear that they’ll be late. You can read more of this in my piece on Filipino Time.
You can go there later.
I encourage you to read first the four ways to change your stories.
4 Ways to Change our Stories
There are many ways we can do to change our stories. They are simple ways that sometimes people do not try them.
Life is big and complicated. People expect complex answers too.
My answers are simple and easy.
1. Choose what you feed your mind.
Broken-hearted people tend to listen to sad songs. In their heads, they drown themselves in negative stories. This seems to be the most natural thing to do for humans.
When you start becoming irritated because of the bad news you are reading, you know that you are allowing negative thoughts to dwell in you longer than necessary.
There are days when I noticed myself spending much time commenting on Facebook about the mediocre performance of our government leaders. That’s because I read a lot about it.
And whatever I read, I bring to the conversation during meals. I tell you about it, my friends.
Be mindful that this is happening.
Change your stories by deliberately picking good stories and choosing to create value.
I am not saying that you become blind to what’s happening around you.
But keep in mind that many things are happening around you. You can pick the stories that can inspire you and others to make a difference in the world.
Nobody changed the world by complaining.
You can change the world by changing our stories.
2. Focus on the big picture.
Many years ago, I noticed that my wife and I quarrel often because we magnify our issues. We make mountains out of molehills.
We tend to generalize things based on one minuscule issue. We dwell on it. We argue about it until we hurt each other’s feelings.
You can reframe your story by paying attention to the big picture. I know of many people who have full of regrets because they allowed small things to overshadow everything in their lives.
Focus your eyes on the most significant things in your life.
3. Fill life with colors.
Life is not black or white. Sure many of the people we know think life is always either-or. If you are not for X, then you are for Y.
Do not be trapped in a fixed mindset.
Instead, seek growth and find many opportunities. Be flexible. Be a creator.
4. Be a playwright.
If you think that life revolves around you, you are not alone. Most people are homo-centric. They think the universe revolves around them.
The world does not revolve around us. Whatever people do, it does not mean that they are doing it to hurt us.
We are actors on a stage. And we play different roles. Most of us are doing our best to do what’s best for us.
But we are not just actors. We are also playwrights.
We can write our stories.
We can change our stories.
I hope I have contributed something of value to you today. Things happen around. We notice some, but most of invisible to us.
We can choose what to see. We can choose what stories to include in our lives. We can choose what experience we want to create for ourselves.
Change your story.
Choose a good life.