Well, I’m half way through my Lenten Project. This was a great movie to mark that milestone. Here are some fundament things I believe are true and that the movie touches on:
I am who I say I am. I am the story I tell about myself– to me and to others.
I chose my story and I continue to chose it consciously or unconsciously every day.
Events in the past do not create or destroy my character– my reaction to, attitude toward and interpretation of those events is what creates or destroys my character.
For example: Two individuals might be violently assaulted and robbed at an early age. Or a parent might die while two different individuals are very young.
How each person reacts to those events and what they tell themselves about what those events mean shapes who those individuals are.
For one person each event is tragic and proof they are unlucky and the world is a hostile dangerous place. For another person each event is tragic but proof of their own resilience and the miracle of unexpected kindnesses offered by others.
Exactly the same events can happen in exactly the same way but be interpreted completely differently by two different people. The only thing that changes in the scenario is the individual reaction, attitude and the meaning each imposes on the event. The only thing that changes is the story the person tells about him/herself and the world at large. That story is the individual’s “reality.”
As each person goes through life he or she continues to focus on and interpret each event in light of what story the person is confirming about themselves (and the world he or she lives in). We are all constantly looking for relationships and situations to confirm what we believe is true. (You see…!) We are constantly shaping our own reality.
The person who believes the world is hostile and dangerous will consciously or unconsciously interpret and mentally edit all sorts of events to confirm that story. He or she won’t really notice, connect with or strongly react to the hundreds of events large and small that refute the story. (Yes, but…. )
Likewise, the person who sees life as a miracle waiting to happen will follow the same pattern. He or she will not really notice, connect with or strongly react to all the large and small events that might contradict to that story. (Yes, but…. )
Each of us is continually shaping and reshaping ourselves, the world and reality itself to fit our story. We tend to discount or dismiss anything that doesn’t fit into our own perceptions or the reality we have constructed. If you absolutely believe something is true– for you it is true.
In order to do anything, first you must believe it is possible. If you tell yourself it’s not possible then, by definition, you can’t ever achieve it. “It is impossible to act differently than how you see yourself or how you see your world.” That statement is the basis of all my story consulting.
For example: For as long as running has been clocked as a professional sport every one “knew” it was impossible to break the 4 minute mile barrier. That was the universally accept fact. It was the reality– until Roger Bannister broke the barrier in 1954. The “four minute barrier” has since been broken by hundreds of male athletes. And now, it is the standard by which all professional middle distance runners are judged. In the last 50 years, the mile record has been lowered by almost 17 seconds from Bannister’s early achievement.
Once Bannister changed the story (and reality itself) by proving it was possible to break the “four minute” barrier– the barrier was immediately broken again and again until now it is the common measure of a professional middle distance runner.
That is the way anyone changes reality. You believe something is possible (or true) and then you set out in a systematic way to achieve it (or prove it). “Dare to dream a dream and it will come true.” “If you dream it you achieve it.”
The only thing we can absolutely control or change is our attitude. Changing our attitude changes the stories we tell about ourselves and the stories we tell about the world we live in. It changes what we believe is true or is possible. It changes our consciousness and the nature of reality itself!
If you want to change yourself, change history or change the world, first you have to change the story. Gandhi famously said “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
What the Bleep Do We Know has been accused of being a mishmash of pseudo science and New Age wacky thinking. But there is a solid kernel at its heart that I absolutely believe is true. “It is impossible to act differently than how you see yourself and how you see your world.”
If you believe your possibilities are limited, then they are. If you believe you will fail, you will. If you believe you can change your story, then you can.
I am trying to see myself in a different light and to change my own story. I will report my results at the end of the project.