What Story Are You Telling Yourself?

Michael Weeks
Absolute Zero
Published in
4 min readJul 22, 2019


“How did you do it?”, he asked.

“How did I do what?”, I answered confused.

“How do you go up there and deliver that presentation so confidently?”.

It was the middle of training at a large IT corporation and we were taking a break after presenting some product pitches to a large group. Social pressure was imminent and creating an environment for everyone to get better.

This was an entry-level role into inside sales and many students had never sold or presented before.

“Honestly, I faked it”, I said after thinking about it.

The silence that followed was almost confirmation as if he didn’t comprehend my words. I didn’t know how to explain it to him at the time.

The truth is, it’s all about the story that we tell ourselves. If you tell yourself that you’re going to be the most outgoing, confident presenter on the team, chances are you’ll do way better than you thought you could. And if you’re lucky enough, you might end up as the best in your division.

A Classic Experiment

Consider a classic experiment done on a frog’s vision in 1953. It stunned researchers that the frog’s eye is capable of perceiving only 4 different types of phenomena:

  • Abrupt changes in illumination
  • Outlines of motion
  • Curves of outlines specifically of small, dark objects
  • Clear lines of contrast

Given this information, we can deduce that a frog never gets to see it’s mother’s face and it can never appreciate a sunrise. It can only see what it needs to see in order to survive; to eat and avoid being eaten.

The information it brings in is extremely selective and is hardwired to view categories of perception.

Believe it or not, the human eye is selective too, though much more complex than a Frog’s eye. We think we can see everything because that’s all we know, we perceive sensations we’re programmed to receive.

Now put another filter on what we perceive and you realize we’re further restricted by the fact that we recognize only those for which we have mental maps or categories.

This is an analogy that applies to many things in life.

“The senses do not give us a picture of the world directly; rather they provide evidence for the checking of hypotheses about what lies before us.”

-Richard Gregory, British neuropsychologist

In fact, Einstein told Heisenburg himself in 1926 that it’s nonsense to found a theory observable facts alone: ‘In reality the very opposite happens. It is theory which decides what we can observe.’

So what does all this mean? It means that we see a map of the world and everything around us, not the world itself. All of our beliefs, presumptions, habits, and outcomes have given us a skewed view of the world.

Our minds our designed to string events into story lines regardless of whether or not there are any connections between events. The mind is constantly constructing meanings and beliefs and try to figure of the why behind everything.

It’s All Invented

There’s a term ‘it’s all invented’ from a great book, The Art of Possibility. This means,

“It’s all invented anyway, so we might as well invent a story or framework of meaning that enhances our quality of life and the life of those around us.”

What assumptions are you making that you’re not aware of that have given you what you see? It could be career, how you approach your career, or how you carry yourself around others.

What will you now invent that you haven’t yet created that will provide you with other choices?

It’s all a story. People love to throw, “it’s imposter syndrome!!” at this but they’re missing the main point.

Everyone tells themselves a story every day. We may tell ourselves we’re struggling, that we’re unknown and deserve to be unknown, that we’re a fake, fraud, manipulator, that we’re unjustly ignored.

They’re as true as you want them to be. And if you tell yourself a story enough times, you will make it true.

Your story matters more than you think. Think exceptional. Be exceptional.

Thanks for reading! Follow us if you liked this article.

Most Popular Reads from Absolute Zero:

  1. Snapchat: The Disappearing App?
  2. How to Deploy Yourself in the World
  3. Nick Kokonas & Maximizing Your Upside