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The Stories That Stop Us From Being Present & Taking Action

Dropping the stories

We can’t stop the mind from producing stories but we don't have to cling to them let them occupy our heads.
  • Notice when you’re stuck in a story.
  • Notice that the story is causing you to be stressed or afraid.
  • See if you can drop out of the story and into the present moment.
  • When you go back to your story (because you will), try coming back to the present moment, without judgment. Stay longer.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

The Stories That Stop Us From Being Present & Taking Action

The Stories That Stop Us From Being Present & Taking Action

https://zenhabits.net/storytime/

zenhabits.net

5

Key Ideas

Jack Kornfield

Jack Kornfield

"Most of us have spent our lives caught up in plans, expectations, ambitions for the future; in regrets, guilt or shame about the past. To come into the present is to stop the war"

Our blockages

The things stopping us from being present or taking the action we want to take are:
  • The stories we have in our heads about other people, what’s happening, and ourselves.
  • Our habit of staying in those stories instead of being present or taking action.

The narrative machine

Our minds are wired to come up with narratives (about the world, other people and about ourselves). And these narratives are stopping us from being present and taking action. Examples of stories:

  • If they loved me they wouldn’t be so inconsiderate
  • This is too hard, I don’t want to do this
  • I suck, I keep failing, I am inadequate
  • This shouldn’t be happening to me! This sucks!

Dropping the stories

We can’t stop the mind from producing stories but we don't have to cling to them let them occupy our heads.
  • Notice when you’re stuck in a story.
  • Notice that the story is causing you to be stressed or afraid.
  • See if you can drop out of the story and into the present moment.
  • When you go back to your story (because you will), try coming back to the present moment, without judgment. Stay longer.

Taking action

The stories in our heads also stop us from taking the action we want to take in our lives. For example: I don’t know how to tackle this big project, it’s too complicated.

But you don’t need them to take action. Focus on the present, and just act. Take a “don’t know” mindset. Stay present and stay curious as you act. Stop thinking you know what it will be like ahead of time. 

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The perception of time

Although some physicists would argue against the existence of time, we all do have a perception of time that reflects the reality of our lives on Earth.

False pasts

Most of us forget more than we remember. We change memories to make sense of what has happened in our lives. When we then recall a memory, we reconstruct the events in our minds and even shape them to fit in with any new information.

Understand the future

Many of us think of our past as a kind of a video library where we can look at records of our lives. If memories were fixed like videotapes, you would find it difficult to imagine a new situation.

It is our past memories that help us imagine a future, and to preview future events. This skill of using the past to predict the future helps us try out different hypothetical scenarios before we commit.

one more idea

The Past Is Flexible
The Past Is Flexible

The past, and our understanding of it, is a reflection of our current state of mind.

The past, which is assumed to be static, is in fact constantly changing. Historical fac...

The Stories We Tell About Our Lives

Our story, which we are narrating to others, is constantly changing with our new experiences and insights, as our lives go by.

These stories become our identity and certain core memories, or life events of immense sorrow or happiness, stick with us forever.

Mental Strength For Revisiting The Past

One can change the story of one’s past including what it meant. New lessons can be learned by revisiting the past in an objective manner, without guilt, remorse or any grudge.

Becoming emotionally and mentally tough makes us face our past with courage, and helps us change the meaning of our often traumatic past.

Anxiety vs. Fear
  • Fear is what you feel in the moment when someone comes at you with a knife. 
  • Anxiety is about the anticipation of an event. Anxiety is often problem-solving — but wi...
Mindfulness = anxiety antidote

Trying to push the worries out of your head is inherently problematic because to be vigilant about not thinking about something, your brain needs to keep it in mind. 

Mindfulness does the opposite by making you aware of your state of anxiousness.

Build the Mindfulness muscles
  • Acceptance: accept that the worries are here and stop trying to make them go away.
  • Attention: get out of your thoughts and focus on the world around you.
  • Labeling: When a worry pops up, label it as “a worrying thought.” It’s not you. Do not identify with it and don't let it overtake you.

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