The Story You Live By

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Our lives are like a book, made up of different chapters, a series of stories within one massive novel. Every day we have interactions, relationships, successes, failures, things that happen, things we do and so on. Some of these events are more memorable than others and can have a profound or long-lasting impact upon our lives, influencing how we think and behave. If we were writing a book of our life, then some of them would make into one or more of the chapters.

It is so easy to become bogged down by the past, to live your life by what has gone on before and this influences everything you do today. I have spoken about responsibility in a previous blog which you can access using the link below,

Be Responsible for Your Life

Sometimes it is difficult to get to a place where you are taking responsibility for your current situation because you are living your life by the same story you have always done. The question to ask is, how does this story serve you? Does it hold you back or does it inspire you to drive forward in creating the life you want and living life to the fullest? How does the story you are choosing to live your life by, affecting how you think?

There is a correlation between what you think and the results you get. Let me explain further using the figure below. This is a tool for you to use to redefine your story and ultimately, your outcome.

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You are thinking every minute of every day. Experts estimate we have anywhere between 50-80,000 thoughts per day. You have a thought or often, a series of thoughts, on everything that goes on in your life, but especially when it comes to making a change or doing something which is meaningful to you. For example, maybe you are wanting to go part time at work so that you have more time at home. You'll have a myriad of thoughts that go with this, arguments for doing this, counterarguments against it, experiencing the see-saw effect of weighing up all the pros and cons of going part-time or staying full-time. Some thoughts will be positive, some negative, some thoughts don't even register that much, but others will be so intense they are difficult to ignore. All these thoughts generate feelings which influences what you do next. Sometimes the feelings we have affect the thoughts we generate which can lead to an even greater intensity of feelings. There is a rapid interchange between thoughts and feelings, but what follows is the actions you then take, how you respond, effectively what you do. The actions are the culmination of what you are thinking and feeling but what you choose to then do, determines the results you get; what you see and experience.

It is these outcomes which influence what you think next. And the cycle begins again; each time you go through this process the intensity and energy which you cycle through increases. Think about the story you are living by and how this might influence the process and ultimately the results you get. If the story you live by is one you have been telling all your life and it is one that isn't serving you, it is one full of negativity, anger, hatred, shame, guilt or blaming others then what are you going to choose to do and what outcomes will you achieve?

If you want to change an outcome then change the thought; change how you view what you’re looking at, this is going to change how you feel about it. Feeling differently will impact on the choice of actions you can take, giving you a different outcome. But what if, even if you have the same thoughts and feelings, what would happen if you chose a different course of action, how might that influence the outcome you achieved? Even though your emotions are running high you can still choose to take a different course of action.

Consider what might happen if you changed your thoughts, thought about what your story now consists of. If you told yourself to create or choose a different story, how might the thought of doing this and where it might lead make you feel? We are constantly creating stories; it is in our DNA. 

The stories we create are the ones in which we live our lives by. The story you choose will determine whether you see something as an opportunity in which you will gain a positive outcome or whether you focus on what you will lose. Your story can be empowering, or it can hold you back. Only you can change your story so what’s stopping you? What story are you telling right now? Is it one in which you are creating your best possible future life? If not, then change it. The story you tell yourself and the world will not only define who you are, but who you will become and what you will do as you create your future. A story can change your life, so go create your next chapter.

Be Responsible for Your Life

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Be responsible for your life… that might seem like an obvious statement, I mean after all who else is going to be responsible for it. So, let’s talk about responsibility…how are you living your life right now?

We often imagine we have a line we will not cross. Well imagine a line where you are living your life either above it or below it. Are you living above the line? Where you are responsible for your current situation? You haven’t necessarily caused the outcome of how you are or how your life has turned out; sometimes things happen in the past which are beyond our control. However, in this moment, you accept you are responsible for how you now perceive the world and how you are. You are responsible for how you now decide on the choices you make, how you behave and the actions you take. You accept responsibility for the outcomes and where you go from there.

Below the line, you’re blaming everyone and everything, you come up with excuses, justify why you do things the way you do and live your life by the same comfortable stories which don’t serve you.

If you live above the line, here’s how you think:

You are decisive in creating what you want in life. You see the world as a place of opportunity. You move towards achieving what you want, if things aren’t happening as you’d like, you act and explore other possibilities. You know you have a choice in what you do, how you react to people and events. Whilst you might not know how now, you can learn and develop. Above the line you are in control of you in the now and the future; how you think, feel and behave. You're excited by possibilities. You work hard and put the effort in to get where you are and where you need to be in life. You know you’re not the finished article, and maybe, you never will be, but you strive to evolve, to take your life to the next level. At times you are scared but you trust yourself and have faith in your own abilities. You inspire and you are inspired by others. Your successes are down to you. You are the one in the driver’s seat in your life, creating new stories as you go about the journey.

If you’re below the line, here's your thinking:

You blame others for your lack of confidence, your bad mood, your lack of progress or achievement. You feel disempowered and depend on others in order to feel good about yourself. You wait and hope for things to be different. See yourself as a victim, and you have the t-shirt to prove it, and therefore, powerless. You go through life fearing failure; Hilary Wilson says, "being scared is giving your power away" and you happily do this to avoid responsibility. You believe you have no choice, telling yourself and others of this. You believe things that happen are down to fate. You live your life by the same stories, that rather than energise and excite you, have become habitual and they drain you. You are a passenger in your own life, willing to let others determine your journey and what happens when you get to the destination.

So, I’ll ask you again, are you living above or below the line? Only you can influence how you live your life. You decide where you are by how you think and what you do.