The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are arguably the most powerful stories ever told in the world.
Why? Because what we say about our selves impacts every part of ourselves–how we show up in the world, how we feel, what we think, the context surrounding experiences, how we experience things, the quality of those experiences–pretty much everything we do.
You and I become the sum total of our personal narratives.
Remember comedienne Lily Tomlin’s famous line? “The trouble with being in the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.”
Does your life ever feel like that these days?
We certainly live in a world that seems to be increasing in pace and responsibility. Feels nonstop at times, doesn’t it? We’re juggling multiple demands at home and at the office. We’re trying to do all of them with excellence. It feels like people are wanting more and more from us and we’re getting further behind. Our energy sags. Our productivity lags. Our joy drains. Our bodies rebel. And we’re tempted to feel like victims to forces beyond our control.
I was sitting at my desk and noticed a large fly buzzing around my office. Annoying me, actually. But I moved from frustration to empathy as I watched him zoom into the window again and again and again. It was as though he thought he could get outside through the pane of glass if he just kept trying.
So he did keep trying. Again and again and again. Same results every time. Buzz, buzz, buzz, bam! buzz, buzz, buzz, bam! By now, I would’ve had a serious concussion. But he just kept on slamming himself into the glass window. Same results.
Did you know that every day we experience approximately 20,000 moments (according to Nobel-winning scientist Daniel Kahneman)?
A moment is defined as a few seconds in which our brain records an experience. So, as Dr. Kahneman discovered, the quality of our days is determined by how our brains recognize and categorize our moments — either as positive, negative or just neutral (although rarely do we remember neutral moments).
There is a lot of conversation these days in the business world that is recognizing the significance of assessing and addressing organizational internal culture.
This is long over-due! Because truth is, culture is one of the most important aspects of an organization that drives everything else–from employee engagement, to productivity, to even the bottom line of financial success.
What’s more, culture drives the quality and output of every human group regardless of shape or size.
I do a lot of work with organizations and individuals around the importance of knowing your Why. When you can boil down the most basic purpose for something you’re wanting to do, it helps bring clarity to the Hows that get you to where you want to go. The Hows are negotiable and dynamic. The Why is solid. And it’s the Why that inspires us the most.
I realized last week that this same principle should be applied to the spiritual life, too.