As you got up this morning, what story did you silently begin telling yourself about the day that you would have?
Did you immediately tense up thinking about the people, the events, the to-do list, the challenges that you expect to be a part of this day? Or did you wake up happy about your day because you expect good things and you anticipate doing things with people who are fun and interesting? Did you wake up numb, tired, and robotic in your focus as you mundanely went through the routine of your morning without much thought about what was going to unfold?
The stories you tell yourself about everyday events MATTER – because they frame the experience you will have.
Author and speaker Greg Kuhn wrote this really neat blog post this week that I felt illuminated this idea perfectly.
While driving to let a friend’s dogs out to pee last week, it occurred to me that this task, in and of itself, was rather mundane. From my perspective, it was not exciting, nor was it dangerous.
It was neither “good” nor “bad” to me. Just a relatively boring, routine task that I was happy to do for her.
But what, I wondered, if this were a movie? There would be a soundtrack playing right now to tell me what kind of scene was about to unfold.
- There would be ominous music playing if I was about to encounter danger.
- There would be goofy music playing if I was about to be involved in something humorous.
- There would be whimsical music playing if I were about to do something irrelevant.
Then I smiled and thought, “It would be nice if I had a soundtrack to let me know what kind of scene was ahead.” That idea made me chuckle.
“Wait a minute,” I remembered, “I do have soundtracks! My soundtracks are the stories I’m telling. My soundtrack is my running internal dialogue, assigning meaning and value to all my life events and circumstances!”
It wasn’t heard in musical form, of course, but I had already created a soundtrack for letting the dogs out – by telling a story about how mundane and insignificant that event would be. And I smiled when I remembered that I could have turned that task into any type of movie scene simply by telling a different story about it.
I could have made that scene in my “movie” (letting my friend’s dogs out) a funny event. I could have made it a stressful affair. I could have made it scary. And on and on. Simply by telling different stories about the task’s meaning, value, and consequences.
You might guess that my next thoughts were a reflection upon how often I have turned my life events into movie scenes from Psycho. Simply because I told those types of stories about them. Playing soundtracks creating scary, stressful, tense movie scenes.
But, being human, you already know how often we’re prone to do that. Even after learning how to influence our material reality.
Today, though, I want you to play the best possible soundtrack, at all times. I know not every event in your life will easily inspire beautiful, uplifting, and optimistic stories – but you also don’t have to choose the “worst-case scenario” stories about them either.
Just go for the best-feeling, believable stories you can muster. That’s all you have to do to create a feel-good movie for the ages today.