How are the stories of my life defining my experience of it?

The way we make sense of the world is not factual. Our brains simply can't remember every single fact. If we could recall every piece of data on demand, we'd be a supercomputer. But a supercomputer without a user. Without a user, programs serve no purpose. Remember, a program exist to serve the needs of it's user. A user does not exist to serve the needs of the computer (although often it feels as if we do).

Stories are simply how are brains are wired. we create narratives to explain to ourselves and others what happened.

I think one reason love unconditionally is because they don't construct stories.

If I could let go of your past, how might the world appear?

The reality is stories are how we learn, think, and teach. Without stories, we would have a hard time remembering anything meaningful. Or would we?

Have the stories I've been telling myself becoming an obstacle to living up to my potential?

When viewed objectively, my life is charmed. But I rarely see it as such. I view the accomplishments of others with envy. I know the value in turning envy into admiration, which is easy to say but difficult to do.

I was raised in a family of 4 boys. No question about it, we were competitive from the beginning. We had to fight for the love of our parents. We had to prove we were better. We all wanted to be the favorite son.

I'm starting to believe stories are the source of all the self sabotage in life. Something happens. We construct a story. The story becomes our truth. The storyteller is biased by all the experiences up to that point. What they are living by is not fact, but fiction. At best, it's creative non-fiction.

I tend to beat myself up for not accomplishing what I set out to do. But is everything I set out to do necessary?

All that is truly necessary for me to live in peace is to stop letting my stories define me. As they do, the future continues to look pretty much like the past. The past has been hard. The only reason the future seems bleak to me is because I'm believing my stories of the past.

It's time to hack your story generation machine.

I am giving you permission to rewrite the narrative you have been telling yourself for years.

I choose those who see me for my potential, not my past. I'm done with old friends who keep me anchored in my past. They are still good people, but there definitely people I used to know. They don't know me anymore because who I am becoming is someone else.

Enough of old stories.

Objective: To see things are they a really are. To see things objectively!

Mantra: I refused to be defined by my stories.

Stories distort reality by creating a subjective view of it.

Stories, like worry of the future, link unrelated events together. They are based on a past that doesn't have to have anything to do with the future.

The more power we give our stories, the more influence they have on our future.

Paralyzed by stories.

Something happened. We create a story to explain it. We link events that are not actually linked. As we do, we create connections that never existed.

Future Story

If you can create a fictional story of your past, why not create a fictional story of you future? Do you want it to be a coming of age story or a dystopian novel? By default, it's a dystopian novel. To live up to our full potential requires we resist the common think of a culture led by advertisers and the media.

Stories reflect an error in the code.


When awareness is based on the a flawed process, It's based on the stories we tell ourselves.

Q. Was today successful?

It's a subjective answer based on the criteria used.

Is your definition of success your own or based on how others define success?

Do you live in a way that $5k/month is your breakeven?

The problem with raising your standard of living to reflect the money you earn is that stepping back to a lower standard of living can be very depressing. There goes the story again...

What if instead of creating a metric you had to meet, you lived within what you earned? A flexible spending account that's tied directly to what we earned the month before. No debt allowed. What you get in December reflects what you earned in November.

While there is a low water mark we must meet, it's mostly defined by the government which governs where we CHOOSE to live. If you want to live in a desirable location in Californa, your home might be valued at a million dollars. That means you are likely on the hook to pay the state $10k/year. Add in other taxes, and it's probably closer to $1k/month.

So taxes reflect 1k.

Your mortgage, which is the interest you are willing to pay for a house you can't afford to live in my set you back another $1-2k/month. Then you have to eat. Figure 500/mo for food and other life necessities (food and shelter). Then you are required to have health insurance which can vary depending on the size of you family and where you're employed. Figure $500-1000/mo.

Before long, you see the truth: Your monthly break even is $5k/month.

While this might seem discouraging (it did to me), looking at this as a game has helped me tremendously. I now start each in a 10k/10day sprint.

Is your net worth based on your net worth?

Is your measure of success is based on the size of your bank account, how much is enough?

Is your measure of success is fitting into a 32" waist comfortably? How thin is thin enough?

When I engage with a new client, I have learned how important it is to understand their definition of success.

Point 1: If I hire you, I will sell more books. How many more?

Is earning back the money you spend on marketing a reasonable expectation? Depends on your time frame, doesn't it? In many cases, you are paying for brand awareness, and brand awareness along does not equal sales.

If you have cancer and made it through the day with out getting sick, you might declare success.

If you're a millionaire trader on Wall Street who just lost $100k on a bad trade, you may say not.

In both cases, the measure of success is based largely on circumstances outside our control.

Life is an effort, the outcomes we produced are a result. We can control the effort, but we can't control the result.

No matter how much we effort we put in, we may not get the results we want.

No matter how well you think you did, you may still fall short in the eyes of someone else.

The opinions of others need not be your concern.

As I write Wireframed, I'm learning more about novel writing. For example, I didn't really know what a protagonist was or a story ARC.

It's about engaging the reader, pulling them into a story they can relate to. In order for the protagonist to be believable, he/she lives through experiences (the plot) that leave us awe struck. The actions the protagonist takes and how they related to the plot (character development) define how the story arc.


It's tension that makes a good arc. Tension created by unresolved. It's also tension that keeps me up a night!

The more insurmountable the obstacle, the better. When the character needs become something they are not. It's witnessing the development of that character that inspires us.

Real life ARCs. Based on a true story books & movies are popular. A few notable titles: Lion, Unbroken, American Made, and American Sniper. War brings out the best and worst in us.

The poster for Unbroken reads 'Survival, Resilience, Redemption.' It explains the arc in that story succinctly.


Last night I was again stressing about our finances. I'm not saving enough, what I have saved isn't being invested, and although I know I can drum up new business, there's a hill ahead to climb.

Unresolved tension is part of the creative process.

As a spectator view, stories can be compelling. As the participant, they are endured.

But what we endure is what shapes us. My favorite quote is from BKS Iyengar: 'Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.'

Our own story is unfolding. It's part of our fabric, and how our brains remember.

If life were a video game, we'd each have a different number of experience points and our level reflect the number of points we accumulate. But we all play the game for the same reason, for the thrill of it.

Some of us are on noble quests, others not so. Wolf of Wall Street exposes the story of greed and demise of addiction. It's based on a true story, but it's full of exaggeration for the screen.

Ad lib

We can't recall everything that happened, so we ad lib to fill in the gaps. Much of what we ad lib never actually occured, but the more times we tell the story, we forget which parts of it were ad libbed and which parts actually happened.

Stories contain fragments of truth, based on what we recall from a past experience. Often however, stories are fabrications of inaccurate perceptions caused by filters of a largely irrelevant past. We'll even defend our stories to the death (or least at the expense of friends and family).

Who you right now is not related to who were yesterday, only to the extent that you believe it to be.

Images bring a story to life.

Images allow you to recall a story.

The more you tell others your story, the more real it becomes, until we are truly living our story. Fake it until you make it reinforces it. Stories can also give us distance from a difficult past. Stories allow us to paint a more hopeful future. A life without a story can't be shared, and if a life can't be shared, does it ever exist?

Reproducing errors

The stories we tell ourselves are what trap us. It's not the stories, but rather the experiences that make a lasting impact.

We look for problems to solve

Solving the problem: What do usually we do? We think, we read, we talk, we go deeper in thought. Too much analysis leads to paralysis. And it's so easy to do these days because of the web. Writing a book is more challenging because the moment you go to look something up online, you are screen sucked into a range of related topics. The time you had hoped to spend writing because consumed by acquiring more data.

In order to diagnose the problem while the problem is occurring demands that we STOP. (MINDFULNESS) while in the midst of action requires an ability to distance oneself from on-the-ground events. We need to get a view from the balcony to accuratly diagnose the problem. Shift your energy from thought to action. Learn by doing takes on new level of importance.

"We can stay above our storytelling mind and simply monitor the knobs and levers of our neurobiology." ~ A quote from Stealing Fire.

"If I had my life to live over, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner." ~ Tallulah Brockman Bankhead


Think about that quote. Read it again.

When we look back, what do we see?

I see that my soloprenuership has been comfortable, but not profitable. My failure to trust others to do the job means the job falls on my shoulders.

Today is gonna the best day of the year. I do not allow stories of yesterday to define today. Today is a new day and it WILL be better than before. I am making incremental progress towards my dream. Everyday is better than the last.

I'm not as good as I'm gonna get, but I'm better than I used to be.

Setbacks teach me what I need to know.

I do not let my story making mind blind me from seeing the way things actually are. I have empathy for myself and others, but understand it's only any attempt to understand feelings, and not necessarily understanding.

I do not let myself get in my own way anymore.

Bibliography / Further Reading