Most people don’t realize that, resting deep within their psyche, a personal narrative is quietly determining how they respond to the world, how they make decisions and how successful they will become.
How does a metaphor do all that? Amazingly, stories and metaphors are deeply woven into the fabric of human communication and appear to be enmeshed with how the brain perceives the world.
This is why studies show that merely communicating in stories and metaphors activates the brain’s sensory regions (parts of the brain that perceive outside events) whereas literal language does not activate those regions (reported by scienceNOW).
In other words, the story of your life is also your perception of life!
When you know your personal story, you understand the invisible force that quietly guides your worldview and the direction your life takes. It’s a huge piece of your identity that most people overlook.
Successful, happy people have personal narratives that reflect maturity, balance and acceptance of the truth. However, personal narratives don’t always begin that way. They may need to be updated to match your current age and experience.
Personal narrative exercise, part one:
This simple exercise will reveal your personal story in its current state. Do it and find out how your unconscious mind is tracking the story of your life.
Type your personal life story in five minutes or less. Don’t edit, rehearse or hold back. If you were to explain your story, in a nutshell, to a compassionate stranger, how would it go?
The brevity of the exercise is an important element. It needs to be relatively short and to the point. This forces you to capture the key ideas and experiences that you unconsciously believe define you, so far in life.
Next week, we’ll send out part two of this exercise, which will show you
1. Five personal narrative factors that create unhappiness. You’ll review your narrative for the critical factors that hold you back in life.
2. The seven elements of a healthy narrative that create happiness and inner peace. These suggestions will lead you to consciously develop a life story that creates a powerful new view of yourself and the world.