“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.” –Buddha
I couldn’t have agreed more with this quote. You can blame people, situations, and timings all you want, but the truth is, it’s all in your mind.
The stories that we make up consume us from the inside. It draws virtual boundaries around our minds, making our minds, thoughts, and actions enslaved to our assumptions.
So, you see how one thing leads to another, and before you know it, you have conformed to the demons of your mind.
Let me better explain this to you with a real-life example.
Imagine yourself in a business setting, a meeting where you’re assigned to put forth a proposition. However, a colleague raises many questions regarding your idea. Being the center of attention, you automatically assume that your colleague is trying to tarnish your image. And even if his tone is not condescending nor have you two ever shared any major unpleasant moments in the past, you begin to feel that he is trying to make you look incompetent.
Here’s where the gears of your mind start twisting its own version of a story. The events that follow are just a domino effect of your first impression. Even after the meeting is over, your subconscious mind will keep feeding new information to strengthen your side of the story.
This is where your mind marks the colleague as a possible threat.
Now, are they really a threat or a notion? Trust me, we totally stray clear from this question. We are so invested in pulling down the other person that we do not realize that our opinions have replaced the facts.
So then what will happen next? You may try to make him look bad in the next meeting – and you know what? You’ll unconsciously put a hint of that condescension that you had picked in their voice.
This is where you start going down the path of self-destruction and deterioration. You have merged the facts and the opinions, and now you look like a petty and toxic part of the business.
I know that you did not intend to go about it this way. You realize this a bit too late, and by then, embarrassment and regret are the only ones to accompany you.
Now the question is: what can I do to avoid getting myself trapped in the stories I tell myself? Like breaking any other bad habit, this also starts with acceptance.
Accept that you are interpreting situations the wrong way. You need to know when you alter the facts to your convenience. Let’s say you believed that your colleague was trying to make you look bad. Look for solid reasons to back up your thought process.
You will come to know that your notions are baseless. Only then can you come up with an alternate rationale. Maybe your colleague was genuinely having trouble understanding your idea or was unprepared for the meeting.
I know what your next thought is: Aren’t these alternate rationales also baseless stories? I would advise you to pause for a while and think about the disadvantages that this will cause you.
Are you blinded by your desire to prove something? Or have you deviated from your initial path? The answer will probably be no because now you’re giving a more logical background to your mindset rather than a biased and personal one.
You are no longer hindering your own path to success. Instead, with positive thinking, you ended the story then and there.
If you still feel that there are more aspects to this topic and would like to discuss it, I am always available – email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.