I was doing planks. I hate planks. They're the absolute worst.
So there I was, planking, and man did it hurt. My shoulders were aching. My core was on fire. I was in agony.
A voice in my head told me, "You can't do this." I replied, "Yeah, maybe I can't."
But then I thought about the pep talks made by all the fitness trainers and martial arts coaches I've had, and as I was holding my plank, a voice spoke up in my head: "But why can't I do this? It's not like I'm going to die."
I knew I wasn't going to die. People don't die from planking. It's not medically proven. And yet I felt on the brink. And because of that, I wanted to quit. Even though, as my Krav Maga instructor used to tell me, our bodies can do much more than what ours minds tell us they can.
We are master storytellers
We are naturally master storytellers. The rational mind knows that death isn't imminent when you're exercising. The facts just don't support it. But the storytelling mind is weaving a different tale, and that storyteller is always getting a word in.
Even when you're planking.
The storytellers in us are loud and convincing (see here to learn about the narrative fallacy). They sound reasonable so we let them make our decisions for us. They're right sometimes, but a lot of the time (maybe most of the time) they are not. Our fantastic stories can get in the way if we let them shape our choices.
The point is - beware. The narratives we weave to make sense of the world make grand appearances all the time, unannounced, creeping in under the radar. We don't know they're appearing, and we don't notice when they're pushing us to make decisions that aren't in our best interests. But they're there. And they're impactful.
You don't want even the smallest decisions to be based on fairy tale.
Challenge your stories.