Holiday talks of how easy it is to craft and present our story to others via social media. When we’re trying to accomplish something, we often comfort ourselves by talking about it, creating a story around it. It’s so much easier to upload a picture of the life we want to live than it is to actually live it. Holiday points out that when we talk about accomplishing something we become less likely to accomplish it, as our brain begins to believe we’ve already done it.
In an effort to stop focusing so much on my story, I quit Instagram a few months ago. Suddenly I wasn’t so focused on capturing and sharing my story for others to see or read. And yet I still told myself stories about who I am and what I do. It seems social media is an outlet used to further validate the stories we’re already telling ourselves all the time, in our own heads.
Usually when I’m feeling bad I find that I’m telling myself a story about my life with only the bad chapters included, and when I feel overconfident or cocky, I find I’m almost always telling myself a story that includes only the good ones. This is obvious, you might say. But then why do we let ourselves get so carried away and wrapped up in our stories until we can’t distinguish them from our reality?
None of these stories are true. Not one of them is real. This is good news because it means none of the bad stories we tell ourselves are true, yet it might seem bad because it means that the good ones aren’t true. Either way, it feels freeing to realize, as learning what isn’t true brings me closer to what is. Yet even after this realization I still feel myself reaching out to arrange pieces of my life until I’ve created another story.
After reading Holiday’s book I’ve started to notice how often I’m telling myself both bad and good stories about my life. I miss being on Instagram as much as I used to be because like everyone else I’m a little vain and I want to share the story of my life–more than that, I want to craft and present a good, exciting story. Yet sometime after I stopped telling my story via Instagram, I felt a sort of freedom. As less people online believe my stories (because I’m no longer telling them) I start to believe the stories in my head less, too.
These days there’s less pressure to tell a good story or worry about a bad one. These days I’m just trying to keep my head down and work hard. Perhaps that itself is just another story I’m telling myself, but it feels the most true.
If you haven’t already, check out Ryan Holiday’s latest book Ego Is The Enemy. I was blown away by his last book, The Obstacle Is The Way, and this new one is even better.