Are you aware of the stories that are shaping your life?
Or are you like most of the rest of us who are run by stories we have inherited from society.
Stories like; life was meant to be hard, money doesn’t grow on trees, it’s normal to get sad, I’m busy, busy, busy and all the rest.
Well I don’t know about you, but I used to be completely unaware of the power of the life stories shaping my world. As such, I just followed the stories that ran in my head. And they lead me to a bored, busy and not so inspired way of living.
Read on to see how changing your life stories can have a huge impact on every area of your life.
Life Stories: Take Control of Your Life
Firstly, welcome to Success24x7 our mission is to learn the lessons we need to make our life awesome, to help our children tackle the future and to help make this world a more successful place.
We started our mission for success a year and a half ago. And one of the greatest lessons we discovered, by chance, was that the life stories we tell create our life.
How We Came to Learn About Life Stories
My wife and I started our mission for success a year and a half ago. We decided we wanted to escape the rat race and get the life we dreamed about. And we dived into it.
For the most part it was great and we felt great edging towards our life of health, wealth and financial freedom. However, there was a million plus things to do, and no way we had the time to get them all done.
There was the regular business of life; keeping our apartment and everyone in it alive and well, and there was work, the side hustle, the investing, the writing, the baby, the family, and maybe the odd hour for friends. Then there was the guilt of not reading enough, not playing enough … I’m sure you don’t need me to go on.
Stress – apparently it’s what we’re all dealing with – or not dealing with.
And with all this stuff to do, how did we keep things going straight? How did we choose what to do first? And as a result, what to give up to never being done?
Ultimately, we had too much to do and it was all beginning to feel like work, hard work.
Well, these were the questions and feelings that were swirling around my head when I woke up one morning. The mission was going full steam ahead, but there was too much to do and no time to do it, and the guilt, the frustration, and the tiredness were building up.
SO I went looking for an answer of how to get life straight and put some more ‘juice’ into this mission that was starting to become hard work and stressful.
And as per usual, it was Tony Robbins that offered me some invaluable guidance.
Tony’s advice – take time to set your life stories.
First piece of advice – you need to take time to stop. Life is so hectic and busy that we can get sucked into the illusion of mistaking work for progress. We feel like as long as we’re going, we’re going in the right direction.
This constant go, go, go often takes us away from doing the really productive things that make all the difference. It leads to all that stress and it stops you from taking the time to get yourself right, to perform at your best and to make the most powerful decisions that make all the difference.
Prime your day with the right life stories
It also leads us to stop thinking. When we are constantly going, we don’t take the time to evaluate what we are doing. That is when the automatic life stories of ‘work hard’, ‘keep hustling’, seem to drive us on. However, they often give way to the stories of stress, and ‘it’s too much’, ‘there’s always something to do’, ‘I’m busy’, ‘too busy’ and so on.
You need to stop and take time to think and get the story right in your head. By stopping and getting the story right, you prime your day to have the right feeling, you choose the most effective course, and you get back the energy you need to create the life you want.
Read more about what I’ve learned from Tony Robbins here in my previous article .
How to Create Winning Life Stories
First, we need to ask, how do we create a great life?
We need to focus on what makes a great life. A life grinding away on a mission to make a million dollars, can be awesome, but if it’s work, work, work, grind past the point of exhaustion and forget about the things that truly matter, then that is not an awesome life. So I need to remember to be careful and not throw away the awesome I have looking for an awesome future life.
So what do we need to focus on to get everything straight and make our lives joyous?
Categories of life
Tony breaks it down to basically 5 categories of life.
- Spiritual life
These are the important areas that we need to focus on in order to live a healthy, wealthy, happy and fulfilling life. A life that is full of what makes life worth living.
And I don’t think anyone can deny that these are the truly important things. Certainly body is important – who wants a million dollars at the cost of their legs, or arms or lungs. And I for one definitely know, that the healthier you are the more you enjoy life. You feel better, stronger, more capable, more confident and more attractive.
And emotions is what it’s all about – live a happy life – enough said. Spend your time in the state of healthy, happy, grateful, inspired, passionate, and everyday is a valuable day.
Going further, we have to accept that relationships are inescapable, as is work and without some form of spirituality the whole thing lacks value.
These are the important things of life.
Get them right, and life is magical, but get them wrong and life is a major drag.
I used to get them wrong – and I had no idea how to do them right. But thanks to Tony, and influences like Tony, I’m starting to get them right.
When you get them right, and you attack life with energy and gusto and positivity, you live in passion and inspiration and that leads to joy, happiness and most of all fulfillment.
SO how do you get the energy and enthusiasm to approach these areas of life?
You have to start by telling the right stories about each of these categories of life. If you tell the right story, you will transform each of these areas into sources of joy and fulfillment and you will start to get the life you want.
This is Tony’s approach – Change your psychology and juice up your categories.
1. Life Stories for Body
Body is obviously a huge element in making life. We have a finite body and if we want it to last and to keep working in good order, so we can do all the things we want to do, then we need to treat it right and take care of it.
Most people I believe would see the obvious merits of this approach.
Basically, if we want to live long, and live fit, healthy and happy, we need to get into good shape, say no to all those bad temptations and make healthy eating and working out a habit.
So why don’t people do it?
Partly because it’s hard work. At least that’s the perception. The life stories that they tell about body encourage them to see it as a struggle and pain and loss.
However, what you usually find, once you get by the initial tough times, is that your body really enjoys the work out. Mentally, you feel much better from using the physical energy in the way it was meant to be used. And you also feel much better as your body becomes stronger, leaner and more attractive.
This I believe from experience.
So what stops us from starting, or causes us to procrastinate and occasionally fall off the wagon?
Negative life stories.
It’s all about attitude and that comes through in story.
You tell yourself the story that you imagine will lead you to the changes you want. You tell yourself that you have to cut back on all that yummy, fatty, sugary, tasty good stuff and starve yourself. The result is that your mind goes into fear mode.
You are an ancient being designed to seek out as many calories as you can get in a limited wilderness. Your mind deep down is programmed to want more, not less. The thought of less makes us fear going without and that, subconsciously, drives us to binge.
On top of that, our ancient bodies are built to chase down that food, build a shelter and fight off the dangerous elements of the wilderness. But now when we hear the story that we’re supposed to sweat, work, fight and endure pain, we’re obviously not too thrilled to go after all that hard work, pain and loss.
How do we go for it?
How do we get in, get past the quiters’ hump and get to the feeling good with the challenge feeling?
Positive Life Stories
We need to tell ourselves a story that feels good.
No more, ‘I’m giving up all my joy and killing myself’. We’re changing that sad tune with, ‘I’m becoming a world class athlete, I’m getting stronger and better every day, I’m someone you don’t want to mess with, I am a Warrior.’
Changing from the sad story of loss to the positive story of strength is much more appealing to the mind. It is a story that will motivate us, and pull us towards the goal we want.
Change these negative life stories. Look into each of the major areas of your life and work out what story you can tell to get you inspired to do the things to make you feel great, and therefore give you an amazing life.
2. Life Stories of Work
Work! It’s where we spend the most time. For most of us it’s where our greatest level of effort in life goes. But I don’t think people really feel inspired by work.
The life stories around work are usually all negative and painful.
From my personal experience, work is painful. Work means giving up time and giving up control of that time to others. It means schedules and effort for goals set by the boss.
As a teacher it also means managing a class, being a disciplinarian, a marker, an administrator and a carer, and so on. It’s a big job that means hard work and big responsibility.
But it doesn’t have to mean that. You can change your life stories.
I was initially struggling with this feeling. It made my days full of angst.
But following the advice, I started to say the job is easy. I just forced myself to see the good side and ignore all the bad side whenever I could. So while I was away from work, I tried not to complain, complain, complain. Instead I tried to lie to myself that the job was easy. And I told myself that I was grateful that I got paid well for doing a relatively easy job.
Going from there, I focused on the stories that made the job inspiring.
Create Inspiring Life Stories
Instead of saying I hate being a disciplinarian and an administrator and a marker, I told myself my job is to enlighten, inspire and empower the future generations to make the world a better place. Now if I want to do that, what do I need to do? I’d have to make learning inspiring and empowering? I’d have to engage the students?
Ultimately, it means taking responsibility. Instead of feeling caged by all the bad things, I feel the responsibility to fight through the bad and to make it good.
This is not easy
This is not easy to do. And I definitely have not mastered it. However, I know my life and my efficacy in my job is much better when I tell an inspired story.
Work is not a great story. Even if it’s your own business, work means sacrificing time and pushing your body and mind. However, if you can control your mind and force it to tell the right story, then you can overcome the bad parts and get to the part that fills you full of purpose and feels rewarding.
Define your job right and tell a positive story.
You’re not a Stock broker, you’re a financial genius. You’re not an accountant, you’re a treasure hunter, … and so on.
3. Life Stories and Emotions
Emotions are really the juice of life. They determine how we feel and the state we live our days in. We can live bright, happy days feeling love, joy, hope, passion, inspiration or we can live our lives in dark, desperation with fear, hate, depression, anger and so on.
And the great secret is that we can choose what emotions we want to live in. However, do most of us live that way. I would suggest no. At least from my personal experience I know I used to live in those bad emotions, and I just took it as the way things were. Or even worse, I fed those dark emotions by piling on as much anger and scorn to them.
Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a terribly depressed person. And I don’t think most people are miserable emotional wrecks. However, I do know a lot of people who have little control of their emotions and are really not mindful of how they are priming themselves to live in the emotions they have.
What are the life stories of emotions?
I believe for most of us there is no story. Especially for men. I know I for one don’t feel comfortable discussing my emotions on a day to day basis. It’s very unlikely that I’m going to go to a friend and say, “hey Dave, you know I’m feeling really grateful today. My wife is just so amazing and I’ve never felt this kind of love before.”
I imagine Dave rolling his eyes and thinking I was having a breakdown.
And to me that’s kind of natural. I don’t even like getting that ‘mooshy, gooshy’ with the wife, or even inside my own head.
Life Stories that don’t get told
But the true story that doesn’t get told is the one where we can decide to choose our emotions. The story is usually that ‘it’s normal to feel blue from time to time’, ‘love bites’ and ‘life sucks’. Or we tell stories about bad luck and how unfair the universe is.
We kind of expect these heartaches to play out and so we don’t get too excited.
But what if we start the day with a positive story every day?
What if we start the day by saying, ‘I can choose to be happy, and I jolly well will be.’
Starting the day with Positive Life Stories.
That’s a different story. Like good things always happen to me. Today is going to be a great day, I’m going to have a day full of love and happiness.
These are some stories that I don’t think get told very often.
But I started to tell these stories. At first I knew I was being ironic, and at time straight out sarcastic. But by simply forcing myself to say the words, it made me think, ‘why not?’
Life stories of Gratitude
And then I learned that maybe awesome isn’t always there. We don’t always naturally feel fantastic. But gratitude is a very powerful, positive emotion that is always on offer. As long as you look for it.
When you live in gratitude, you start to look for more to be grateful for and to feel more joyous about. Then you put on the music, you turn on to positive people and you decide to be the bright, enthusiastic, confident person you wish would light that spark in your life.
The right life stories have the power to turn on the right emotions and the right emotions are what bring joy, meaning and purpose to this crazy life of ours.
4. Life Stories about Relationships
Speaking of emotions, what develops and nurtures our emotions more than our relationships? Both good and bad, are impacted by the relationship influences we have.
And our relationships are also heavily influenced by our emotions. But as we said we have the power to shape our emotions and therefore we can shape our relationships.
It all depends on the life stories we tell.
Now this is a topic that could be developed into whole books and studies on the life stories we tell about family, romance, marriage and all the alternatives we have today. And that’s not really my area, though it would be fascinating to dive deeply into a study like that, especially if we look at all the implications now of having no real authoritative master narratives to follow.
In this day and age what relationships mean is as individual as the people who are in them.
So to be as brief and general as possible, we’ll look at the extremes.
Life Stories around Family
If family to you is a loving wonderfully natural arrangement then that’s great. However, I see for many, family is a story of roles that should be met. Mummy should be all loving and all caring. Kids should be loving and well behaved, and daddy should be the leader and provide and make sure everyone is safe.
That’s an old story, but it is still one that is being advertised and told on the TV. And I do believe somewhere in our subconscious image of things we have this dream ideal of the perfect story.
The Problem with Life Stories
The problem comes when the reality of life doesn’t match up the dream in our heads.
But here’s the real route of the problem, we try to stick to the story that has no ‘juice’.
Where’s the love and fun and creativity in sticking to should, should, should.
The problem is that most of us don’t stop to really think about the story we’re telling. If we did we might change it. We might aim for a story with more vitality. Not a story full of fear. Some of the stories I hear are full of fear. “How do we make sure our kids behave” – fear of losing control. “How do we give them every advantage, and how many extra activities do they need to do, and what happens if they’re not smart and funny and cute and creative?” Fear, fear, fear.
Change the story
What if we changed the story to accept that we are all different. What if we changed the story to be positive. Then maybe we’re no longer a set structure with roles and rules, maybe we are individuals with our own strengths and weaknesses, building a team so that we can all face the world together.
Maybe instead of growing up and ticking off age definitions of responsibility, we are a tribe building towards a dynasty of strength were the whole family is united by purpose and vision and values.
I don’t know what stories work for you. However, I do find that a lot of the issues of relationships come from should and come from not having a shared story.
Life Stories Define Relationships
This is especially true in romantic relationships. Boys should … girls should … wives should … husbands should …
In the beginning it’s all sparks, chemistry and attractions, but then the old stories kick in and it’s should, should, should, until it becomes she’s a bad wife or mother because she didn’t do what she should. Or you’re a bad husband and father because you didn’t do what you should.
And maybe that extends to the bad kids because they didn’t do what they should. And the bad friends who didn’t do what they should. And the bad teachers and, well you get the idea.
You need to find the story that empowers you to build powerful relationships and find the people who share that story, or some version of that story, and then together build a shared story together.
The story you tell is entirely up to you.
Now don’t get me wrong. It is not easy.
I often catch myself mentally screaming at y 4 month old son, ‘you’re tired and you’re full, you should sleep’. I get all angry because he’s screaming, or even if he’s giggling, thinking a good child would sleep at the right time and not bother daddy.
But that’s not reality – that’s a story in my head.
Now I try to check myself.
The story needed to change – ‘he’s only 4 months old, he doesn’t know how to go to sleep, maybe he’s scared, or maybe he wants to play with daddy more, or maybe he feels uncomfortable, or whatever.’
The positive story is that my son is full and safe and healthy and he loves daddy so much he wants to stay awake and cuddle a little more. So I try to stay calm and I pick him up and try to rock him to sleep.
Now that may go against all the advice, but I like my story now and helps me to stay positive.
There’s plenty of time to change the story if I find he needs to toughen up, or he needs to be trained to be more independent. For now, we’re writing a story of a loving happy family, so we have to go with the feelings of love and happiness and safety and security.
5. Life Stories about Spiritual life
Now I’ve gone on way more than I was planning to. And I’m not here to condone or chastise any one’s religious beliefs or the stories they tell. I think by now you can work out why we have some huge religious conflicts in the world as a result of the different stories we all tell.
But I will just touch on spirituality.
Spirituality is important. If you have no story that gives meaning to your life then it’s far too easy to feel pointless. If nothing matters, then all the love and relationships and happiness and all the good things of life will mean nothing in the endless expanse of eternity.
The Joy of Freedom
Now maybe some people enjoy the freedom of ‘there is no god or afterlife’, but I dare say most people need the comfort of a good story.
I myself went through the existential crises of realizing there is no god and in the end it’s all just dust and ash. And I used those feelings as an excuse to break the rules. And it felt good for a while, but in the long run, without any meaning to life, it all felt hollow and depressing.
Gradually, I found my own understanding of spirituality. I’m not about to explain my own feeling on it all, but at the end of the day a story that has a happy ending, or a new beginning at the end, is much better for living a long term, productive and happy life.
I see reason to do great things. I live and create to pass on everything to my family and the people I love. And I grow my soul and my intellect ever day in the expectation of being elevated to even higher levels in whatever afterlife that may lie ahead of us.
These are the general categories of life and a discussion of the stories we use to define them. If you are feeling that life isn’t working for you, I’d suggest, as I have had to do myself, you look at what is happening in each of these areas. Then look at the story you have for that area of your life.
Is it something that is inspiring and empowering. Or is it a story that you never intended to tell. Is it a story full of rules, regulations, shoulds and musts that you never decided and you don’t actually want to live by.
All areas of life…
This goes for all the other areas of your life.
Business – marketing, sales, accounting, finance, management … what are the stories that permeate your business.
School – teacher, student, homework, duty, rules … what are the stories that go with all these things?
For whatever area you want to focus on, what are the stories you tell? Do they excite, enlighten and inspire, or do they actually go against everything that you want.
More on these intitutions and stories in the future, but for now, you should be well aware of the power of these life stories.
Stories Shape the World
Stories shape the world we have. You should actively tell the story you want to see become reality. Make it fun, and empowering, full of juice and enthusiasm and you will start to find a life of happiness and purpose.
Tell the story that gives happiness to your life.
Throw away the nightmare scripts that have you living in stress, frustration, angst, misery and depression.
Choose your story and create your life!
Mission for Success
The mission for success is to take our life to the level of awesome. We are actively learning the lessons that will bring us more success, that will improve the future for our children and will help make the world a better place.
If that’s something you want for your life, feel free to come join the mission for success by clicking here: Mission for Success!
All the best, and remember to keep striving for success.