The story we tell (and sell) ourselves on and how it affects you

March 31, 2009          Comments (3)

Did you ever realize that you tell yourself a story about yourself? We all do.

In fact, the story you tell yourself about yourself is simply your ego. We all have an ego. Some way bigger than others but we all have one. Your ego is essentially the way you perceive yourself. Or the story you tell yourself about yourself.

We all have an ongoing story that we tell ourselves. And it becomes very easy to connect random occurrences into a story that makes sense to us.

In other words, we’ll rationalize everything. This is good and bad. It’s good because if we didn’t have the miraculous ability to rationalize everything that goes on around us and what we do, we wouldn’t be able to function in this insanely chaotic world.

But it’s bad because if something we do doesn’t fit into our story we tend to ignore it.

For example, the person who thinks they are extremely honest and full of integrity. When they do something that lacks integrity they will somehow completely ignore it and rationalize it.

They will chalk it up to “something” other than being dishonest. It just doesn’t fit in with the story they want to tell themselves about themselves so it gets omitted from their story.

What about the story you tell yourself about other people? You ever wonder how a person doesn’t ‘see’ what everyone else sees. Are they blind? Are they stupid?

You know. The boyfriend/girlfriend that is constantly cheating but their girlfriend/boyfriend is in complete denial and doesn’t (want to!) believe it.

The boyfriend/girlfriend who thinks their other half can do no wrong.

We’ve all seen it. And it’s amazing (yet sometimes sad) to see it from the outside in. But it usually takes being on the outside to see it! Because of the story we tell ourselves.

Being self-aware certainly helps. However, we’re all only self-aware to an extent because of this phenomenon.

We all think (and want to think!) we’re a certain way (based on our story) and we all think the people in our lives are a certain way (based on the story we tell ourselves about that person).

Now when you start to pay attention to your actions – as opposed to your story – it starts to get interesting.

Because your story is the person you really want to be. Your actions, of course, are you! You can’t define anyone but by their actions.

Your friend can be the greatest friend in the world. Your boyfriend/girlfriend can be the greatest person in the world too.

That’s all fine and dandy. But to me being is very subjective.

He/she might be great. But unless he/she does great I won’t know that. And your boyfriend/girlfriend might be full of integrity but do they actually act with integrity and honesty?

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  1. Gilbert

    Personal branding is all about telling your story. I was just hanging with Gary Vaynerchuk at Wine Library at a networking event and he was saying how two of his favorite story tellers/ business people were Vince McMahon and Walt Disney. They all tell great stories and have made millions of dollars because of it. Seth Godin also tells how all great marketers are story tellers.

    The trick is getting an opportunity to tell your story. You’ve got to work it in as much as possible without being obnoxious and too self promotional. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    Comment by @MattWilsontv — March 31, 2009 @ 2:47 pm

  2. […] as I’ve written about before, is simply the story you tell yourself about […]

    Pingback by Guru Gilbert » Is your ego getting in your way? — June 1, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

  3. Yes. It’s so true and I could not agree more. Actions not assumptions. Great post. It’s always a welcome reminder: we are not our stories.

    Comment by ElGuappa — July 13, 2009 @ 12:59 pm

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