A great story needs a great hook to pull in the reader and keep them interested. It usually provokes an emotion and bingo, the reader is into the story to the end.
Every minute of every day we create scripts in our mind which are shown on our internal cinema screen. We connect with either the pictures or the soundtrack (and sometimes both) but each day there we are caught in the narrative of our own life story. Often the story is a challenging one – there are uncomfortable emotions, unhelpful thoughts and behaviours which take us away from what really matters to us. Our mind is a meaning-making machine and every day it organises itself to help us make sense of the world around us. It tells us the story it wants us to hear and each day we believe it. This narrative becomes the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth.
And that’s where the problem starts. Some of the stories we listen to are often very dated. They started in our mind years ago and we keep them with us right through to the present day. They become the landscape we operate from and sometimes they keep us way too small. Or perhaps some stories have a more modern look n feel but still they are unhelpful. In some way they limit us or keep us stuck.
During each day on average we speak around 16,000 words but our internal voice produces thousands more. It continually chatters, dropping in judgements, assumptions, criticisms, comparisons and predictions. It’s sometimes like predictive text in the head.
Mary had a little ………..
There’s no place like ………..
Every cloud has a silver ………
Did you automatically fill in the blanks? Was your mind already onto the answers? Well that’s how quickly we can drop into the autopilot of the mind. Once a sentence has started it’s hard to not finish it and then buy into the meaning we give it. It is a process of thinking which happens so quickly, we’ve moved on before we realise it. If the sentences are judgements or criticisms of ourselves they are influencing our moment to moment experience. Sometimes we get hooked into seeing others in an unhelpful, critical, judgemental way too. Neither way is particularly flexible.
Our own mind becomes so hooked it creates its’ own stressful experience. Once we are hooked we follow the story to its natural conclusion – the way it always ends.
Being hooked can be very tiring too, emotionally it takes a lot out of us. We only see what’s directly in front of us (the bait) and fighting the pull of the line is all that matters. It becomes harder to let go of the bait (the story we tell ourselves) and we lose sight of what really matters to us. We know it may be more helpful to step back and hold a wider view but there we are caught up in the fight – with no apparent way out.
Learning how to focus our attention elsewhere and let go of the hook is an important life skill. Not all hooks are as easy to ignore. Some are as small as the small size 18 hooks (check that out) and some are the whopping size 1 hooks. Either way they are all hooks which catch the mind.
So now you recognise that your mind can get hooked, email me to explore how you can unhook from the story to live a more meaningful life.