How will you tell me your story?
Let’s say, we met at a coffee shop.
Brewing coffees and conversations as they advertise, we are here to brew something together.
I want to write your story, so I want you to first tell me yours.
How would you define yourself to be? Brave? tenacious? Shy? What motivates you? Work? Passion? Love? Or is it purpose?
What do you love more than you love yourself? Books? Movies? Your lady love? your midnight musings? Your work?
What are you afraid of, what keeps you up at night?
How do you see yourself?
We come across way too many people in our modern workplaces, workplaces that function more like a tiny facebook, where hi-bye connections and networks are most valuable to our progress up the ladder. Hence, you pretend to be someone for more than eight hours a day.
We are looking at a third of your life time!
A half of a days time, keeping apart the time we are asleep. Thats an awful lot of time to pretend to be anything.
And hence it matters, what we pretend to be, keeping apart the terrible people we could evolve to be, presenting a different persona to the rest of the world for all the wrong reasons, like faking behavior in limerence to impress a new found lover, or pretending to have skills we don’t for a dream job, instead of going through the pain to develop it.
I am talking about a different kind of pretense here. The good end of that bad world.
Here lies the difference, in choosing to be our best selves each moment, fine lining some traits of our character, instead of faking for any reasons other than this honorable pursuit itself.
The cognitive effects of being another persona, subtly amplifying some traits of ours over a few others that we suitably conceal according to environments have huge effects on our psyche in the longer term. Studies also show that, this behavioral customization leads to huge cognitive changes over time.
This is also part of the science behind, ‘fake it till you make it’ principle that goes around the corner. This is also partly true and works for mild behavioral changes that we want to bring about- That the person we pretend to be for half of a day, is partly the person we will evolve to be.
Here, it is very critical to have a high level of self awareness, to know what we fundamentally identify ourselves as.
How will you describe yourself when you are telling me your story, assuming neither of have any interests in each other apart from the story itself waiting to be heard?
Angela Duckworth, in her famous book ‘Grit’ argues that, even children who talk to themselves to being optimistic and hard working eventually grow up to be one.
We also notice some people surviving extremely difficult life situations and coming out positive out of the storm, compared to a majority who might be emotionally broken by similar experiences.
Here, it is critical to know that those who seek the silver lining, calling events as learning experiences and not mistakes, those who call themselves resilient instead of emotionally volatile and who try to see the finest in any dire situation, often wins in the long term.
Now, these situations, like a divorce or failure or humiliation or losing a job or being broke, are often ones from which most are incapable of seeing a silver lining.
The ones who come out less damaged, but are the ones who are capable of seeking a silver lining even if there isn’t one.
This is why, I asked you over the coffee, how will you tell me your story?
Because, in the end, that is what matters.
Our responses and interpretations to situations itself, more than the situations. Your interpretations either make you or break you, whatever it is that life throws.
Choose to observe, not suffer.
Respond, not react.
Interpret, not define.
Survive, not go through. And list down a zillion reasons why you survived.
Now, let me ask you again.
How will you tell me your story?