Shape your material into a specific story structure and it will pass through to the conscious mind with few, if any, internal alternatives

“If you shape your material into a specific story structure, then it will pass through to the conscious mind with few, if any, internal alternatives, additions, and restructurings. Your story reaches the conscious mind, not some other story created by the receiver’s own mind.” – Haven

How many times have you heard someone say, “You need to own your story!”? I never really knew what it meant. Then I came across this quote,

“Make sure you set your own priorities. Because if you don’t, people will make their priorities your priorities.” – Unknown

What happens when you don’t advertise who you (or your product) are clearly? Do people even know what you stand for? Actually, what do you stand for? Having a hard time answering that question? Then it might be time for you to do some journaling. If you don’t know your story, how do you expect others to?

Oprah famously said, “You teach people how to treat you.”

Dr. Phil goes on to say,

“Say your bossy friend always picks the restaurant you hate. If you’d rather keep silently resenting her instead of speaking up, then don’t change a thing. (By the way, there is a payoff here for you, too; maybe you don’t want to put any effort into making a decision, or you enjoy feeling wronged.) But if you want to see a different result, then you need to teach her how to treat you.

Why aren’t you challenging her when she ignores your opinion? You’re the one who is refusing to say, “Wait a minute, I’m really in the mood for someplace else.” The only person you control is you—which is great news, because you’re the one who has been letting her call the shots time and time again” – Dr. Phil

In “Story Proof: The science behind the startling power of story,” Kendall Haven writes:

“If you shape your material into a specific story structure, then it will pass through to the conscious mind with few, if any, internal alternatives, additions, and restructurings. Your story reaches the conscious mind, not some other story created by the receiver’s own mind.” – Haven

It’s important to know how your story functions.

It’s important to structure your story in a way that other people will understand you, how you operate, and what you need. It’s even more important to make sure you’re telling yourself the right story.

Let’s play a game.

Take a moment to write out your story. Do this alone. Don’t let someone else tell you what your story is. This is the time you’ve blocked off for yourself to check-in.

Get out a piece of paper. Set a timer for 5 minutes. And get busy answering the following 3 questions:

  • What is my personal story?
  • What is my work story?
  • What is my family story?

Now read over what you wrote.

Does it make sense? Is there a clear beginning, middle, and end? Now go find someone you trust. Read your story back to them. Ask them what parts are unclear.

Make notes of what parts are unclear. Revise what you wrote with feedback from your trusted friend.

Repeat this process with other trusted friends. Keep revising until you get responses that the story is clear.

Now that you have a clear story. Look to see if this really defines who you are. Are there parts to the story that could be integrated better? Are there glaring inconsistencies in your story? Patterns?

This exercise should give you a chance to get clear on what parts of your story are clear and what areas need work. Finally, ask yourself, “What parts of my story can be ripped away?” Old beliefs holding you back?

You write your story. If it’s crystal clear, you won’t leave any room for misinterpretation.

You write your story. Make it a good one 🙂

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Author: David Neely

Professional Software Developer. Technology and Web Coordinator at the University of Hawaii's Manoa Career Center.