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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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January 09, 2014

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

By Mark Sisson
94 Comments

TypewriterExperts have understood for decades that the human brain is geared toward storytelling. As anyone who created bizarre scenarios to memorize random facts for high school tests knows, we recall information better if it’s organized within a story. In Grok’s day, this fact likely had clear benefits for passing on crucial information such as hunting and foraging strategies (and epic mistakes), medicinal remedies, migration routes, navigation principles, survival tactics, and familial bloodlines. From a less pragmatic sounding (but rather pivotal) angle, the human mind is also moved by narrative in a deeply emotional way. Sure, band life was organized around the daily company and collaboration of members, but Grok and his crew weren’t automatons. Stories of many kinds undoubtedly helped maintain or explain those bonds with tales of history and alliance (and, I imagine, humor). It’s kind of fun blow-ten-minutes thought: what would Grok have laughed at? But I digress…

While this “natural affinity for narrative construction” proved adaptive for the species, it worked because it operated in individuals of course. On that level, our forebears used story to lead, impress, teach, learn, remember, entertain, interpret and negotiate – generally, we assume – to their benefit. Each of us ever since was born with this affinity. For better and for worse, we experience our lives and our environments within this cognitive “narrative” framework every day. Indeed, we experience our own selves within this narrative context – for better and for worse….

Stories, of course, naturally highlight what we’ve done and been and what’s happened to us. Likewise, however, they suggest what we haven’t done or what we don’t consider ourselves to be. They reveal us but inevitably circumscribe us and define us to a point.

Think for a minute about the stories that you tell yourself – about you. Not necessarily the narrative you would like to tell about yourself (some meticulously crafted testimonial or eulogy). In fact, brush away all the public posturing and cocktail party introductions we all end up doing to some degree at least in certain situations. What is the real narrative you live each day when it’s just you and you. In other words, what inner tape ends up playing? What lens gets applied to the outer circumstances? What’s your role, and what characteristics describe this figure you walk around in each day?

Obviously, this concept has broad applicability in our lives. In terms of health, how does it play out? In terms of vitality, what reflection do you see? What does your script say about fitness, food, play, self-care? Does your script have you assigned the role of fat person? Does it tell you you’re a sugar-holic? Does it suggest you’re not an athlete? What does it tell you about your relationship to food, to fun, to overworking? This is the stuff that makes for people who lose 100 pounds but who sabotage themselves into regaining because they can’t recognize themselves in the mirror. There’s an emotional difficulty running underneath this that can’t integrate the new look (and attention) into the old psychological template. They have a new body that’s incompatible with the old mental operating system – a system that was likely founded in actual events but self-bolstered over time again and again.

Part of understanding why we get so hooked into these narratives and the assumptions about ourselves that they impose is understanding what incidents or outside messages created them in the first place. As they say, if you don’t process the past it will keep showing up in your present. The fact is, we can talk ourselves into (or out of) any myriad of opportunities or changes simply because we’re ruled by past scripts. We never really get off the ground for a fitness goal because middle school gym class taught us we didn’t belong or would never meet the standards. We battle food because it was our coping mechanism, and we were always praised for being the “good eater” in the family. We can’t learn to prioritize ourselves enough for some meaningful self-care because we were supposed to be the caretakers. Stress management seems like a nice but foreign concept because we grew up in emotional or logistical circumstances that always seemed to be foreboding another impending crisis.

Psychologists examine how the enormous collection of random incidents in our lives get sifted into actual memories and then further filtered by the power of repetition or magnitude (e.g. trauma or celebration) into “self-defining memories,” those experiences and messages that become a watershed for our self-perception. It’s the nature of human subjectivity (and a brain that can’t and didn’t evolve by storing every bit of input). Data isn’t created equal on a cognitive level. Our ancestors scanned but prioritized their attention. We do the same whether we’re surveying traffic or filing emotional feedback. What we end up with at the end of this cognitive filtration process is what becomes our personal scripts, the memories but also messages we use to define ourselves.

Once we recognize some of the original inputs, we can see how we ourselves have reinforced the stories over time by giving them – or their messages – too much of our faith and attention. Our stories, we find, need to be rewritten.

To dismantle such a foundation can feel unsettling, however necessary it is for our health and happiness. As fundamental as these narratives – these organizing principles of personal past and formulated identity – may seem, they aren’t real. They don’t exist in the same way the tangible present does. Things happened in the past, but they have no more significance than what is happening literally right this second. The past only has the power we give it each day. What could it mean to absorb this idea – to live the rest of your life in it?

Experts have examined our cognitive processing of memories and demonstrate that our self-stories clearly influence our behaviors. Yet, how we frame these memories also determines our relationship to them. Do we define ourselves by past disappointments, or do we see them as challenges overcome? Do we use failure to justify a negative self-concept, or do we weave it into a bigger story of redemption? How we make meaning from our negative experiences will significantly determine their impact on us. The more we can act in the spirit of the latter choices, experts suggest, the better we’ll weather life’s difficulties and encounters with our own human fallibility – and the more confident we’ll be that we can make effective change.

How Do You Change Your Story?

There’s the old adage, whatever we give our attention to grows. Changing our scripts means retraining our brains. Moving beyond old messages necessitates creating a new narrative. What are we dumping from the old scripts? What do you need to let go? And what needs to take its place? What do you want to be living? What are the messages you want to believe when it’s just you and you?

First, accept that new messages won’t ring true for a while. This doesn’t matter. Set your intention, and your mind will catch up eventually. Visualize what you want – on you, and continually take tangible steps toward making it happen in each mundane day. I caution putting up photographs of other thin, fit, happy, etc. people. Instead, put up a list of accomplishments or events you will do, and start scheduling them. Put a new piece of clothing you want to fit into in full view in your closet. Buy high quality exercise clothes and shoes for yourself to make you feel like you’re already an athlete – because you are. (You’re just honing your skill and strength or endurance.) Make a list of a hundred things you like to do instead of eat compulsively or overwork, and put it on your wall. Schedule some every week. Make sure you do at least something every day toward that intention. Afterward, acknowledge you made a choice to live from a different place than you used to – because you did.

On another note, affirmations or mantras might seem woo-woo to a lot of folks, but I’ve seen them work more times than I can count. It’s in part basic functioning of the brain. For something to get lodged in our brains, it’s got to either be the shock of major trauma or the consistency of daily input. An affirmation/mantra/personal saying/whatever you want to call it is totally meaningless said once or twice or ten times. Depending on many factors, you might begin to feel something after 30 days. Maybe it will take 100 days or 300 or 3 years, but every day you’ll be closer. The ultimate point is whether it’s worth it. Do you want to keep living with the same tape going in your head, or do you need a new script to live the life you want? If you do, it takes some persistence, which is pretty easy when you think about it. Just show up for the message each day, and eventually you’ll find it’s already there, inherent in you and how you approach your day. You’ll have 100 and then 300 and then 1000 stories that show you the life you’re living, the one you’ve chosen one thought and action at a time.

Let me turn it over to you now. What stories have fueled your Primal journey, and what have you had to let go of? What’s helped you in this process, and where are you looking for feedback or support. Share your thoughts, and thanks for reading.

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94 Comments on "The Stories We Tell Ourselves"

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Paige
2 years 8 months ago

YES! I can get so caught up in the stories I make up. I can get in my mind so much, and then all of the sudden, I’m believing something that’s completely untrue from reality. It’s something I’m working on 😉

Rick
Rick
2 years 8 months ago

I have started a list on my smart phone
Each statement begins with I am. Example I am healthy. I am taking care of my body. I am positive, etc. I have made up 50 statements and repeat them each morning and evening. It really helps.

e.m.
e.m.
2 years 8 months ago

good idea!

Pip Adler
Pip Adler
2 years 8 months ago

Storming post. I have a constant script in my head about how busy I am and how there just isn’t time to get it all done. It seems to make me less efficient and more stressed, so that I constantly feel like a failure. Investigating mindfulness as a way of helping but I’m definitely going to try consciously rewriting my script. Hmmm, how would that go…..? Something about a fabulously fit superwoman… Where are those stars, I want to aim for them 🙂

Sunny
Sunny
2 years 8 months ago
Sometimes in the quest to please others, your own image becomes secondary. Like a soldier fighting in the field to carry out the generals orders, or perhaps on an excavation dig rummaging for dinosaur bones ….. Whichever, either way you end up covered in dirt, sugar coated or not. I once had a pet hamster, who refused to go on the wheel, despite my ongoing attempts by prodding the poor creature repeatedly with a pencil, and luring it with sunflower seeds, in the end it refused to leave its straw filled hut. One day i found it flat as a… Read more »
Emma
Emma
2 years 8 months ago
I got so emotional reading this. I still, after about 8 years, don’t dare tell my parents I’m not a vegetarian anymore. I’m 38 by the way. The reason? Well because I’m the good daughter of course. The one who lets other peoples choices be more important than my own just so I won’t upset anyone. And yes, I was the slow one in gym class. I’m good at thinking about stuff and academically clever but just not very good at doing anything practical, right? I have to get out of this unnecessary picture that’s holding me back, but is… Read more »
2Rae
2Rae
2 years 8 months ago

When I turned 40 my mind changed over to “if you don’t like what I’m doing then you’ll have to turn your head” attitude. Maybe that will happen for you, it was wonderful for me to not worry about what people were thinking about what I was doing…… turns out most of them weren’t thinking about it anyway.
May you have success in moving forward. Its your mind, change it if you want or not. 🙂

ltreat
ltreat
2 years 8 months ago

40 is good for that but 50 is even better! I love the fact I really care a lot less about what other people think (or what I think they think!) now… ‘It’s none of your business what other people think of you’ is a line I read somewhere that made me laugh… I try and live by that now.

Lee
2 years 8 months ago

I am…

Someone who lifts weights regularly.
Someone who doesn’t like starchy and sugary food.
Someone who gets good sleep.
Someone who is running a 5K this Sunday.
Someone who is not drinking for the month of January.
Someone who runs sprints once in a while.
Someone who meditates.
Someone who is happy about their life.
Someone who can make big decisions that improve their live.
Someone who is really good at their job.

Danny
Danny
2 years 8 months ago

Ditto….. except for the 5K. I’d be running a 5 miler in March…. and except the no drinking thing. (got to have my glass of red wine every night. : )

tkm
tkm
2 years 8 months ago

Go you!

Dances with Bacon
Dances with Bacon
2 years 8 months ago

Be careful that you are not throwing too many logs on the fire.

Billy Reeder takes us through the things we need to know to find freedom, whatever that is for us.

“Cabin People Part Two: Fire”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT8eWTXa00I

leida
leida
2 years 8 months ago

I dunno. I keep going through phases of thinking I can do stuff, training for it, becoming better at it, starting to believe… and then falling flat on my face normally with a horrible injury. Just recovering from broken bones after thinking I can do martial arts, and I have almost believed it. So, I dunno, maybe the stories I told myself ain’t exactly untrue, and I should listen before I kill myself in a misguided attempt to do more.

It’s kindda the ‘strove for better, but ended up just like always’ ….

Rhonda the Red
Rhonda the Red
2 years 8 months ago
OMG, I feel your pain!! Well, not literally since my bones are currently intact. Bless your heart though! I’ve been sidelined in my path by weird injuries or sudden sickness or life catastrophe and it seems like I’m being conspired against — or as the old folks used to say, I feel snake-bit. After a while, that old “I’ll never be able to change anything, I’m just stuck where I am and what I am” tape begins to play and I have the most awful time trying to drown it out. But my mantra these days is “I floss twice… Read more »
Lisa
Lisa
2 years 8 months ago
Thanks for this comment, specifically about flossing! I’ve often said that I’m going to “floss more often” and have just as often fallen back into once every week or so. I started flossing daily about two weeks ago, and it’s become an easy part of my routine (and takes so much less time than I always think it will!) I hadn’t thought to link a change that really was so simple to a bigger change that I’d like to make. “If I can change to flossing every day, I can change my bedtime to 11:00.” (Still later than Grok, but… Read more »
Amy
Amy
2 years 8 months ago

That’s great! Except, my first thought was, “hey, even I can floss!” I don’t think the “even I” is supposed to be part of the script. 🙂

lisa
lisa
2 years 8 months ago

Maybe your expectations are getting in the way. Like I think it is really awesome you tried martial arts, even if you did get hurt! Being open to experiencing new things, whether they make you happy or cause you pain, is important. You know, part of your life journey.

Groktimus Primal
2 years 8 months ago

Mine is the story of Pillsbury the Doughboy and the Bakers Dozen. It is set to auto repeat while playing The Eye of the Tiger.

Struan
Struan
2 years 8 months ago
Hi Mark This is my first comment on your site, which I have been following daily for 6 months or so. This post is excellent and could just as easily have been called “How we see ourselves”. My compliments to whoever wrote it; you or a worker bee. It reveals a deep understanding of the human psyche and the power of our own minds, and the varied responses so far show just how differently we all respond to the idea. I try to constantly remind myself that I shape and have the power to shape every aspect of my life… Read more »
Mike
Mike
2 years 8 months ago

I’d always thought of myself as overweight since middle school, not fat mind you, but overweight and I was. After eating primal for about 8 months, I still had this story in my head. Everyone had been telling me how I looked thin but I couldn’t see it until a friend sent me a picture and at first I didn’t recognize myself. I still have some leaning out to do, but I look at this picture every now and then and it helps me keep on track.

Susan
Susan
2 years 8 months ago

I’ve adoped a quote frm Steve Jobs to help guide my personal journey: “Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.” It helps me stay focused on what’s important to me and to let go of what others think.

Kathryn
Kathryn
2 years 8 months ago

Sometimes others see the truth we do not see ourselves, good and bad. If you have a self impression that is flawed it is wise to at least consider help given in a loving manner.

Anna
Anna
2 years 8 months ago

Absolutely fantastic post, Mark. These old stories about ourselves that play on a perpetual loop in our heads – the script. How many times have I narrated mine to any willing audience: “You see, my father…… that’s why I am blah blah blah blah blah blah.” He actually died 20 years ago but I’m still telling the old story to any who’ll listen. I’m even boring myself now. Reading this post has planted a small seed of possibility – a new script to give me the life I want. Thanks.

Kim
Kim
2 years 8 months ago

” I am not…whatever’s running through my head.” I love it!

Sometime in the past year, Mark wrote similar post and lots of people responded with their mantras. Does anyone remember which post that is? Could you all list your mantras right now (if you have them)? So helpful!

By the way, I’m pretty sure Grok laughed when other people farted. That one’s innate. 😉

Stacie
2 years 8 months ago

My mantra: “Today you are closer to the person you were always meant to become.”

I can’t remember where I gleamed it from and how much I made up myself, but it proved helpful in losing my first 50 pounds =) This post helped remind me of that during a time (aka. right now) that has been challenging for me, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Time to keep reminding myself of it.

Cindy
2 years 8 months ago
If anyone out there wants more information on this subject, I read a book called Psyco Cybernetics a few years back. It explains Marks post perfectly. It was written by a plastic surgeon who would transform the hideously disfigured into beautiful and handome people. Most would embrace their new lease on life where others still saw what they considered the ugly person looking back in the mirror. This led Dr. Maxwell Maltz to study the brain and how peoples perceptions can be so far from reality. I was told by a mentor that if I read this book 5 times… Read more »
Maniuni
Maniuni
2 years 8 months ago

Try The Book of Not Knowing by Peter Ralston. It really changes you.

Jim
Jim
2 years 3 months ago

I just read Dr Maltz book for the first time and I am about to reread it.
I had a feeling If I searched his name on MDA I might get a hit. Glad I did nice post. I got my copy on internet archives.

rollietheoreo
rollietheoreo
2 years 8 months ago

Instead of “I am…”, I will say “I was…” then choose what to put after “I am…”.

Jen
Jen
2 years 8 months ago

This is the answer. For years I have been unable to understand why I lose 15 pounds then gain. Why I go a week on Paleo then just can’t do it! Thank you thank you thank you.

Rod Hilton
Rod Hilton
2 years 8 months ago

In the words of George Costanza from Seinfeld…….. ” If you truely believe it.. It’s not a lie” !!!!

Emily
Emily
2 years 8 months ago
This reminds me of the research on Growth vs. Fixed Mindsets (Dweck, et al). Developing a growth mindset was a large component of my Master’s program at Harvard (so it must be good stuff, right?), and we spent the entire year correcting ourselves and each other – instead of saying “I don’t eat right,” you say, “Eating well is a challenge for me, and I face it every day.” Instead of, “I suck at squats,” you say, “Squats are an exercise that I can improve on.” We learned this in the context of students (“I’m bad at Math,” “I’m a… Read more »
2Rae
2Rae
2 years 8 months ago

My son’s school is doing this “mindset” beginning this year. It will be interesting to see what happens. I look forward to reading the book.
I like the idea of encouraging the effort instead of the outcome, however, it’s challenging to retrain our mind so that we speak that way.

Stacie
2 years 8 months ago

Aww I need to revisit that book.

Jim
Jim
2 years 8 months ago

Great book, and this is a great article. My intention is to re-write my script this year and let go of limiting beliefs. I’ve already made a major decision, one I should have made long ago, and am acting on it. Thanks for the great post and web site

Shannon
Shannon
2 years 8 months ago

Great read. This is my first visit and I will keep coming back.

Florence
2 years 8 months ago

This is such a wonderful and inspiring post. I love the posts such as this one that encourage introspection. It’s amazing how inhibited we can be by what we tell ourselves about ourselves. Thank you for this reminder and the tips to change on personal narratives.

Heather
Heather
2 years 8 months ago

The universe is amazing! You have no idea how much I needed to read that today. Thanks, Mark!

Salmon1918
Salmon1918
2 years 8 months ago

No thinking, no problem 🙂

Ease your mind folks.

Paleo-curious
2 years 8 months ago
Once again it seems you are reading my mind! My word of the year this year is “story.” It has other applications too, but one of the main ones is that I want to reframe the stories I have told myself over many years. I often hear myself saying “I’m weak” or “I’m wimpy” or “I could never do that.” I would never say such things about another person! I’m sure it holds me back. So I’m deliberately doing things to change my mindset. For instance I have long been afraid of getting cold, so I’ve been following your advice… Read more »
Tom
2 years 8 months ago

“I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

Mark Twain

SumoFit
2 years 8 months ago

Yes!!!

Or Abraham Lincoln:
“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” 😉

SumoFit
2 years 8 months ago

“Middle school gym class taught us we didn’t belong or would never meet the standards.”

I love this one! Middle school gym class has, over the past fifty or more years, been one of the single biggest reasons children get discouraged from moving, playing, and exercising. Some children are told (or it’s strongly implied) that they aren’t fast, or strong, or co-ordinated, or whatever. And they start to believe it.

So sad.

Rema
Rema
2 years 8 months ago

My son had no interst in sports in school. The moment he showed interest in cycling I jumped on it. I used to race bikes in college, so I told him that if he would train with me all summer we would do a fun ride in the fall. That September he rode his first metric century, he was 11. He just turned 15 and still loves cycling, we do a century ride every year. Once a child shows an interst in ANY sport it should be encouraged in any way possible.

Juli
Juli
2 years 8 months ago

I am still badgering my trainer to get a rope for me to climb because that was my total #fail along with can’t do a cartwheel. After this, I’m just done with that nonsense and resetting to what I want to do now.

And Rema, you are so right: We know now that teaching kids individual activity lasts a lifetime. Kickball not so much.

perelmanfan
perelmanfan
2 years 8 months ago

I’ve been laughing as I drive to work for the past month. No reason – just making myself laugh. Now, it’s a habit, and I am happier. Pretty damned simple.

Pastor Dave Deppisch
2 years 8 months ago
Ya know Mark– I have done well getting in shape and trimming down– but many times in my mind I still see the fat guy who weighed 225 lbs — even though its been years since I was that big. But then, I have always been my strictest and worst critic– never able to fully be satisfied. Even when I run hills, if I make it to the top on the 5th or 6th try I still feel I should’ve done it faster. (or in bare feet!) But as a preacher who has to care for a flock– it’s made… Read more »
AnaBanana
AnaBanana
2 years 8 months ago

My montra is simple: “let it go.”
I try not to hold on to negativity and even though I have regained weights since losing a lot (of mostly muscle mass) while being a vegetarian, I am not constantly hating myself every time I look into the mirror, anymore, and it is wonderful! Most of my problems were in my head, ones I blew out of porportion.

Candi
Candi
2 years 8 months ago
Thanks for this great post. I’m reminded again how powerful words are, whether they’re spoken to us, or implied, by someone outside of ourselves, or by ourselves to ourselves. To Tom re: Mark Twain. It caught me off guard and I laughed. But, everyone has lived through a version of hell. But we grow up and now have a choice, though it may take effort, or even be excruciatingly difficult to make the better one, we still have a choice to choose move forward in our lives in a better way. As a man/woman thinks, so is he/she. Just one… Read more »
Sara B
2 years 8 months ago

A fabulous tool to use to address those unquestioned scripts is The Work of Byron Katie, which has people worldwide learning and using this simple, powerful and radical method of self-inquiry.

I found that affirmations aren’t a very strong tool for me because, no matter how long I tried on an affirmation my mind would always respond with some version of “No, you’re not”. The Work was my turbo-charged tool to propel me past a lot of untrue stories completely and quickly. It’s available to all for free at thework.com

Wriggs
Wriggs
2 years 8 months ago

This article reminded me of something I was told in an educational conference about engaging boys. They say it takes about 5 or 6 positive thoughs to neutralise just 1 negative one.

Also, as a vocal teacher. I did a research paper on tone deafness. 15% of the population belives they are tone deaf, when in reality it is close to 4%. When looking into why so many people think this, it was due to many of them being told at a young age that they were bad at singing……just goes to show

Kathryn
Kathryn
2 years 8 months ago

This reminds me of a TED talk where the speaker tells a story about asking students “who can sing?”, all kindergarteners raised their hands, and only a hand full of high school students. We can all sing, just not in the car with our kids!

granny gibson
granny gibson
2 years 8 months ago

What a deep topic, Mark! In my late twenties, I shed 100 pounds. I was surprised that I didn’t also lose the low self-worth. I realized, at a certain point, that I was homesick for my old body and felt adrift and vulnerable. It really is a physical feeling, and it took me a lot of time and support to get over it. If I could have read these ideas back then, I think it would have sped up my journey! Thanks!

Rocky
Rocky
2 years 8 months ago

What would Mark do? Seems to work for me a lot of the time 🙂

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
2 years 8 months ago

My brother wrote me that once over Facebook.

Ara
Ara
2 years 8 months ago

That’s awesome… Mark should sell wrist bands with WWMD on them. Brilliant. I’m a WWJD fan too so please don’t think I’m being blasphemous here…

TJ
TJ
2 years 8 months ago

Mark – I have read almost every one of your posts for 3 years. This is the best one.

By far.

“Things happened in the past, but they have no more significance than what is happening literally right this second. The past only has the power we give it each day.” You truly understand the meaning of “health.” It is not merely nutrition and exercise. A myriad of factors are responsible for wellness, and this post addresses the core of all of them. Thank you.

Dusti
Dusti
2 years 8 months ago

For me wearing my VFF everyday in public was life changing. Instead of trying to hide it so no one would notice, I embraced it and became “that girl” or “vibram girl” at the gym. haha I love it!

Jennie
Jennie
2 years 8 months ago

Such a great post Mark and so relevant to all aspects of our lives and especially timely with the new year and new intentions! Repetition is key when trying to start a new storyline. We consistently tell ourselves the old stories, and need to remember that the new ones deserve as much or more airtime!

Pure Hapa
Pure Hapa
2 years 8 months ago

I guess I’m like a snake – I shed my old skin when it needs to be shed.

My current narrative is that I’m a badass along the lines of Trinity in the Matrix, complete with the shiny black rubber outfit – kicking butts and taking names!

When I was very young I was not like that at all. I’m not sure when I changed, but I found my inner superhero somehow and that outlook has helped my life immensely.

Ara
Ara
2 years 8 months ago

Awesome! Love Trinity!

Special Bunny
Special Bunny
2 years 8 months ago

This line of thought sounds remarkably like the teachings of the Landmark Forum (or EST to those of you Baby Boomers out there). I’m curious, Mark, as to whether or not you’ve been a participant? I find it remarkably liberating to consider that my past, or the stories I’ve created about events in my past, don’t have to define my present or future. Despite the difficulty of breaking the rather comforting habit of pigeon-holing oneself, it is undoubtedly a worthwhile and ultimately fulfilling practice to undertake. One that I struggle with daily.

2Rae
2Rae
2 years 8 months ago
Some of my Stories: It’s my mind and I can change it if and when I want. Don’t believe everything you think. Just do your best and understand it will be better on some days than others. Put it in a bubble and let it goooooooo. (Watching it float away into the air) If I have the blues today I shal revel in them and enjoy them because they will soon be gone. If you don’t like what I do then turn your head and don’t watch. 🙂 Try to speak the positive of the negative – Not “I hate… Read more »
duck
duck
2 years 8 months ago

what the mind can beleive,the world can concieve.
living in the present is the only way.

Rema
Rema
2 years 8 months ago
Yeah, my mom told me all the time when I was growing up that I was built just like her. Which meant very overweight in her 30’s and for years now morbid obesity. I’m in my 50’s and still don’t weigh as much as she did in her 30’s, but I still hear that tape playing in the background, which makes it hard to concentrate on losing the few pounds I really do need to make go away. I’ve tried writing it out, now I think I need to come up with a personal story to displace it. We’ll see… Read more »
Stacie
2 years 8 months ago
“There’s an emotional difficulty running underneath this that can’t integrate the new look (and attention) into the old psychological template. They have a new body that’s incompatible with the old mental operating system – a system that was likely founded in actual events but self-bolstered over time again and again.” My mental picture of myself has been overweight for my entire life, because I’ve been overweight for my entire life—but as I get older I think I wasn’t as big as my mental picture made me think I was. Anyway, when I recently got down to 187 pounds (after being… Read more »
Marti
Marti
2 years 8 months ago

Wow. Keeping putting that left foot in front of the right. I hope you find your healthiest you!

duck
duck
2 years 8 months ago

there are lots of quotes and sayings and cliches out there that can give you inspiration and motorvation,but it really does just boil down to knowing that YOU control your thoughts,feelings,actions,story ect.you are your own master and no one can tell you how to feel or react to feelings.
and to throw in another from sly,
“its not how hard you hit,but how hard you can get hit and keep moving foward”

PrimalGrandma
PrimalGrandma
2 years 8 months ago

Bottom line: Nothing changes until you’re ready.

framistat
framistat
2 years 8 months ago

And you can decide to be ready at any time…

Unlikely Paleo
Unlikely Paleo
2 years 8 months ago
The story I keep telling myself? That after reading MDA and everything Paleo for about 2 years, including the Friday success stories I am still not committed. I have started, stopped so many times! The weird thing is that I KNOW Paleolithic is the way and when I follow 80/20 I feel fantastic. I have 2 kids under 3.5 and packed on about 60lbs from that, stress and of course food. While I have no medical complaints – thankfully – I do want to look better, be more active as a positive health model for the kids and have less… Read more »
Brent
2 years 8 months ago

I love this article. We too often determine our own failure before we ever give ourselves a chance to succeed–attitude and perspective are very important!

PracticeBalance
2 years 8 months ago

Loved this post! I especially identify with the idea of perpetuating identities we set up for ourselves (or were set up for us) as children. I wrote about this on my blog last year, if anyone is interested: http://www.practicebalance.com/2012/10/maximize-happiness-by-recognizing-your.html

I am a physician who grew up in a doctor-phobic household, thinking I was too squeamish for such things. I am also an athlete who grew up thinking I was too clutsy to play sports.

You can be whoever you want!

Colleen
Colleen
2 years 8 months ago

I’m going to chew on this for a few days. Thought provoking.

Krystal
Krystal
2 years 8 months ago
Thanks Mark…this is a great reminder that often our internal monologue is compounded by an initial choice – a choice to see ourselves in one way or another – in a good way or a bad. One way I’m trying to improve my own version of myself when faced with a damning obstacle (finishing those last few hundred meters on the rowing machine, speaking in front of large crowds, resisting that piece of chocolate) is by reminding myself that I have chosen to be here in this moment, and that I have a choice to conquer and win or to… Read more »
Juli
Juli
2 years 8 months ago
I am working on my “personal brand” now for a variety of reasons and this is right on topic. I’ve noticed (and am also working on) that sometimes we can pick up great parts of our story from others. (As my of you have comments, and not so great, but I’m listening now for the great side). For example, I sprained my knee in December and when I called make a PT appointment, the scheduler asked me what sort of activities I do. I told her, and she said “Wow, you are very active.” And I’ve been walking around ever… Read more »
BFBVince
2 years 8 months ago
Mark, did you go on a psilocybin trip over the holidays? JK, but these are the exact revalatory thoughts experiences like that can provide. Not that it takes a psychedelic experience to invoke these thoughts, but it is important to reflect on the tape we play each day. We can choose to modify the tape, take the movie in another direction. We can modify our gene expression and become the exact person we want to be. I think the Primal Blueprint inherently causes deep reflection and personally it had a profound effect not just on my diet but overall lifestyle.
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