Our Mental Narratives


Since the beginning of this year I’ve been asking myself “Why nooot?” In the shrill tone of a child whenever I catch myself limiting myself into my perception of who I am.

Someone at a party: We need volunteers to come up on stage
Brain: Nope
Aware Brain: Why noooot? It sounds like fun and the first one encourages the others!

Someone in a big meeting: Any thoughts on this idea?
Brain: I do, but I will share it later personally
Aware Brain: Why noooot? Putting it out there right now will bring in more perspectives.

You get the drift.

The results have been phenomenal. New friends, fun activity invites, interesting work project collabs and so much more!

This got me thinking, how else can I hack my behaviour and self narratives to build a low-regret, high reward life?

Apparently, our brain remembers stories and narratives more than facts. And these stories shape our perception of reality influencing how we interpret events, make decisions, and react to situations. They could serve as a source of support and motivation or limit our beliefs and lead to negative self-talk.

Changing these narratives have been one of the best hacks ever. After a discussion with a colleague about how my low volume in meetings, I confessed to the reason of my low self-confidence – “How can I be confident that I will hit the numbers?”. He shot back – “But you are confident in the plan, right?”. And suddenly I realised that he just reframed my narrative and of course, I was confident in the plan!

It changed the way I looked at a lot of things. Soon I was building a mansion outside the proverbial comfort zone

The two key observations I’ve had in changing mental narratives were

Awareness – In identifying and catching self limiting narratives.
Reframing – Changing them into a self-acceptable story that leads to a more fulfilling life.

According to Jerome Bruner, one of the pioneers of cognitive psychology. These narratives are central to our identity and play a crucial role in shaping our perception of the world and our place in it. Our mental narratives have taken us to where we are today.

In his view, self-narratives are not just a reflection of our experiences, but also actively shape and influence those experiences. This means that by changing our self-narratives, we can change the way we perceive and respond to the world around us.

By becoming aware of our self-narratives and working to change them if needed, we can have a significant impact on our outlook and wellbeing.

Improved mood.
More proactive behaviour.
More fulfilling life.
Lesser regret.

How valuable is this to you?

There exists a form of psychotherapy called Narrative Therapy that aims to help individuals understand and change the stories they tell about themselves and their lives. It is based on the idea that our experiences are shaped by the narratives we create and believe about ourselves, and that these narratives can limit our potential.

Exploring alternative perspectives, re-authoring experiences, and focusing on strengths and positive aspects of the person’s life are some of the key part of this.

But it is possible to change your self-awareness without external help as I’ve been doing. But my sample size is just 1. My key hack has been in engaging in activities that challenge my assumptions and beliefs and then reflecting back on the experience.

Seeking feedback from trusted friends or family members about my behaviour and patterns have been another.

Now that I am seeing results and the internet has been a rabbit hole of information, I am curiously optimisitic! Thoughts?

Thoughts? Questions?

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