Show, Don’t Tell

This guy is also my Hero

It’s becoming a practice to listen to people’s stories and see what they have endured through the power of mere belief, of belief in someone within who is bigger than the person without. This man smoked crack every morning for ten years and went to prison twice and now he has a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and works with the mentally ill with diagnoses comorbid with substance abuse in particular. What a baller.

This morning I also listened to “Cosmic Algorithms: Deciphering the Signs,” by Jim Curtis, and “The One Hundred Percent Rule That Will Change Your Life,” by Benjamin Hardy.

I don’t really like things that claim to change your life by adhering to some simple rules, but the latter video was actually offering the opposite of the quick fixes usually doled out by such things. Hardy claims that committing 100 percent to changing one’s behavior is a lifelong commitment and one that requires first a shift in identity, that is, a shift in the story you tell yourself about who you are–which is the purpose of these entries.

What is my current story?

It’s a little bit funny that my ID is still expired. Is that not a sign? My identity is outdated. My story about who I am doesn’t work anymore. I need to look at my life and start telling a new story. I needed to see the reality first and, like Mr. Davis, the real story…well it was hard to look at. In “Cosmic Algorithms: Deciphering the Signs,” Curtis talks about the ability to change one’s life through a simple feedback loop used by the stoics: perception, will, and action.

How we see ourselves in the world determines how we act within it. How we see ourselves determines our will power. A small view is a small power, some say, but then there are stories like The Hobbit.

Which is kind of what he gets into. Anomolies, questions about the things that don’t quite fit, the stuff in between, the role of emotions and the subconscious in determining choices, comes much later in his narrative and is demonstrated by Carl Jung, the father of psychoanalysis, or at least it’s prodigal son. This is when he starts talking about signs and letting them inform our understanding of our subconscious desires. Signs like my ID for instance.

I really like that his conclusion lays down three solid steps for action.

One: Take stock. How did you get here? What’s your current narrative?

Two: Name what you want. “A lot of people don’t know what they want.”

Three: How does that make you feel?

There we are. Back to those messy emotion thingies.

The “Hundred Percent Rule,” as I said, is about committing one’s entire identity to change in order to fuel one’s will. Hardy also emphasizes the importance of investing financially in that identity. More than that, he interviews two groups of entrepreneurs– The successfuls versus the wannabes–and finds that the successful entrepreneurs were the ones who reached a point of no return. Those who had put their everything into their ventures and their future, who could not turn back, well they had to make it.

In any case, the three videos have something in common. Each one highlights the power of the belief in the self. Each one emphasizes the power of mere narrative and perspective to shape identity, action and therefore the relationship of the self to the world. These people witnessed the power of narrative to empower.

That’s what I’m doing here.

So what does that look like now? I have taken stock and what I’m doing hasn’t been working. So I need to shift my perception of my identity to one who believes in herself.

If these people from totally different backgrounds did it, and if this is something that many many people have done apparently, believing in myself will first require me now to:

Name what I want.

What do you want?

Name it.

Ugh.

Okay. Here.

I want to write stories for a living, fictional and nonfictional–stories that inspire people. I want to be healthy. I want to have balance in my daily routine that involves friends, family, doggo, hobbies, food, work, fun, spirituality, and self-care. I want to one day have a small farm with DJ and source most of our own food from land and animals we steward. I want us to travel first and be financially (and otherwise) stress free. I want to build a community, or be a part of building a community, that helps to retell and reshape our cultural narrative identity to positively view what is stigmatized, to redefine in a positive light what is simply misunderstood from the stoics and the realistic and pragmatic perspectives. What about the stuff in between? The subconscious, the emotional? I want us to do better than jails, pills, and mental wards. I want to share with people the power of storytelling, myth, and ritual to change a life and I want to help people find that power within themselves.

Alright. This is future identity.

And right now I have the chance to work from home. To invest in and change my identity to be that person. Now I shall claim her one hundred percent. Start a business. Write a book. These are the things I’ve been procrastinating on. Now these are the things I’m fully invested in. No going back. The point of no return. Follow the signs. The signs tell me write. They couldn’t possibly be any clearer.

What do you want?

Have you named it?

If you were to fully commit to this identity today, what action would that mean? Would you take it?

In “The One Hundred Percent Rule,” Hardy also talks about the statements made from the self to the self through bold action. He tells a story about a man who wanted to lose weight and had two suits tailored to a smaller man, put a down payment on them, and said they were for him. This was his first big step in claiming the new identity which would inform his actions. And he lost the weight.

There’s a part of me that knows I will go back to the kitchen and decide as soon as I walk through the door that I need to be writing. There’s a part of me that knows if I go back to the kitchen I will start to doubt. The idea of going back to the kitchen now seems wrong because my path is clearly going in a different direction. And it’s not as if I left because I wanted to. My mental state required it. Working in the kitchen might actually be too stressful of a job for someone wired like me and I am always tempted to prove those limiting narratives wrong, but I’ve been cooking since I was seventeen? Maybe I just need a break. Worse comes to worse, I will cook again. Worse comes to worse, I try and fail and wind up here again which is not a bad place to be really. Not the greatest but certainly not the worst. Not going back to the kitchen is the bold move. Putting everything I have into this is a bold move, but it is the action that will allow me a one hundred percent investment into my future identity. And it’s not as though I have never made a bold move before. I have just never made this bold move:

Believe in yourself.

I am a resourceful woman, and perhaps the only thing holding me back now, as ever, is myself. There is something romantic about publicly taking a leap of faith. It seems to me I had to do it this way, in a way that people could see. My hope is that this will inspire others to do the same, take their leap of faith too, but that isn’t up to me right now. Right now let this be here as a record of a leap of faith one hundred percent taken.

Someone told me once that anxiety is just excitement with fear. Or that excitement is anxiety without fear? Yeah that.

My heart is racing.

I take that as a sign that this is the opportunity to proceed without fear.

Writing it down isn’t really enough to convince me though, and I know that pretending to proceed without fear is just going to make me fumble and botch this all up. I need to take action that lets me really believe this is something I can do. Believing in ourselves comes as much from action as from storytelling.

So today I learn about blogging as a business. How does this work? I sign up for an SEO class. I look at merchandise and look into places in the Seattle area where I can begin talking about narrative, myth, and ritual as powerful forces for changing one’s identity and the circumstances of one’s life. I look at who else near me is doing this. I look to partner up with people who are on similar paths and pages. This is the first time in a long time I want to work in a group. I look at where in my life changing my story has created success where there could have been utter failures. What’s a little bit funny to me is these are all steps I’ve taken before. This storytelling stuff is what heals me out of every low and high episode. The ritual and meditation keep me level. I wonder if my episodes are caused by the absence of these processes of self-reflection, narrative, and ritual as they have been. This is the story I’m telling.

Baby steps.

To kick this off for real, I will be doing a ritual in nature somewhere which I’ll write down and share here in my next post: The Power of Ritual and the Science of Intention.

In the meantime, may we step into our power today. May we step into that belief of the bigger self. The Hero self.

May we believe in ourselves.

References

Freedom from Self-Doubt | B.J. Davis | TEDxSacramentoSalon. (2014). [YouTube Video]. In YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaQQVevhZEM

The 100 Percent Rule That Will Change Your Life | Benjamin Hardy | TEDxKlagenfurt. (2019). [YouTube Video]. In YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vj-91dMvQQo

The Cosmic Algorithm: Deciphering The Signs | Jim Curtis | TEDxLincolnSquare. (2018). [YouTube Video]. In YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2f04YNvslkM

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