I once had a friend who was an expert at remembering all my failures in detail.
And every time he felt like taking me down a notch, he would discuss them at length to whomever cared to listen.
And the details were always so accurate that I suspected him of keeping a journal on my every action.
The problem was that he always wanted to take me down a notch. That was a real shame.
With friends like that, you don’t need enemies.
We talk about him and other fun anecdotes on yesterday’s episode of the ‘On the Rise Show’:
You should definitely listen to this one. It’s my favourite episode so far.
There are a lot of people like my former friend who love talking about other people’s mistakes.
And for the longest time I felt powerless to their antics. Until I figured out how to beat them at their own game.
Here’s the secret.
A Collection Of Stories
The past is fixed and objective.
At least, that’s how most of us view the past. We think it never changes and can’t be controlled. But that’s untrue.
Because the past is fluid.
It’s important that you truly understand that. The past is really just a collection of stories. It’s not fixed and objective at all.
If you don’t believe me, think of something that happened in your childhood.
Now, go out and gather five different eye-witnesses and ask them to recount the event from memory.
You’ll end up with five different stories of that event.
And it’s not that four of them are lying and only one is telling the truth. It’s more that all witnesses have imposed their point of view on the event.
There is no objective past.
History is the politically correct aggregate of the most dominant stories. That’s all it is.
The past is fluid.
The Price For Freedom
I use that secret all the time now.
Whenever someone is talking about my past failures, I always manage to re-frame the events.
Take for instance my failure to graduate.
My parents are still fond of telling everyone they meet that I don’t have a degree. And I expect them to keep doing that for the next thirty years.
But I managed to re-frame the situation.
Instead of viewing it as a failure, I view it as my personal victory.
Because my sister and I were living under strict rule until adulthood. It wasn’t until my college years that I finally managed to free myself from their tyranny.
But I paid a price for that freedom: I will forever be labelled as a college drop-out.
It’s a price I love to pay.
Control The Narrative
Not only the past is fluid.
The future is fluid too. And it can be tamed too.
Every future problem can be framed in a way that empowers you. There’s always one perfect frame.
Your job is to find that one frame.
And yes, that can be hard. I understand that.
But it’s easier than drifting mindlessly through life.
I woke up in 2013.
And when I woke up, I saw the power of the frame. Whoever controls the narrative, controls the world.
You better become a story-teller. It’s a matter of life and death.
My former friend always controlled my story.
But the only reason why he could do that was because I didn’t realize the power of storytelling back than.
I was not in control of my own story.
If you don’t control your story, someone else will.
Becoming a story-teller is the ultimate superpower.
Only the present is real.
Listen to the audio version here: