Drop the Narrative in Your Head

I have to hold back. I could reference something Seth Godin has written every single week. How he brings these little nuggets of wisdom practically every day is beyond me.

#goals

But I loved this, so I’m just sharing the whole thing.

Okay, you don’t like what your boss did yesterday or last week or last month. But today, right now, sitting across the table, what’s happening?

Narrating our lives, the little play-by-play we can’t help carrying around, that’s a survival mechanism. But it also hotwires our feelings, changes our posture, limits our possibilities.

What does this human feel right now? What opportunities to make a connection, to grow, to impact exist that we’ve ignored because of the story we are telling ourselves about them?

The narrative is useful as long as it’s useful, helping you solve problems and move forward. But when it reinforces bad habits or makes things smaller, we can drop it and merely be present, right here, right now.

Dropping the Narrative by Seth Godin

I like the identification of “narrating our lives.” We spend so much time in our heads. As an introvert, I spend a lot of time in there.

And as I’ve learned over the last year:

A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts, so he loses touch with reality and lives in a world of illusions.

-Alan Watts

I grabbed that quote from one of my favorite books that I read this year, Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. It was the opening quote to an entire chapter dedicate to ” Get[ting] Out of Your Own Head.” Holiday summarizes with:

Living clearly and presently takes courage. Don’t live in the haze of the abstract, live with the tangible and real, even if — especially if — it’s uncomfortable. Be part of what’s going on around you. Feast on it, adjust for it. 

The time we spend in our heads can be detrimental – whether it’s creating narratives about others, about ourselves or for ourselves. Spend too much time in there, and it’s hard to make it out with much to show. You pass up all kinds of opportunities for one dumb reason or another. And then carry a false sense of accomplishment or entitlement, “well, I’ve spent so much time on this in my head, that’s got to be worth something right?” No. Rarely. It’s only useful as long as it’s useful.

It’s hard work to not lose sight of reality by getting caught up in your thoughts. But the alternative is often at the expense of passing up all kinds of opportunities for one dumb reason or another. And to make matters worse, it becomes easy to carry a false sense of accomplishment or entitlement, “well, I’ve spent so much time on this in my head, that’s got to be worth something right?” No. Rarely.

It’s only useful as long as it’s useful.

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