Author Michael Lewis articulates his thoughts on the stories we tell ourselves:
“As I’ve gotten older…I could not help but notice the effect on people of the stories they told about themselves. If you listen to people, if you just sit and listen, you’ll find that there are patterns in the way they talk about themselves. There’s the kind of person who is always the victim in any story that they tell. Always on the receiving end of some injustice. There’s the person who’s always kind of the hero of every story they tell. There’s the smart person; they delivered the clever put down there. There are lots of versions of this, and you’ve got to be very careful about how you tell these stories because it starts to become you. You are—in the way you craft your narrative—kind of crafting your character. And so I did at some point decide, I am going to adopt self-consciously as my narrative, that I’m the happiest person anybody knows. And it is amazing how happy-inducing it is.”
Have some fun with this and try an experiment.
In your next conversation or the next time you watch a show or movie, take this list and pay attention to the following narratives by the characters.
Are they playing any of the following roles?
- Fall guy
- Incompetent (self-deprecating)
- Smartest person in the room
With practice, you will begin to notice your narrative. Once your self-awareness increases, you can self-regulate.