We are the authors of our reality
Your life is a story and you are the author. The reality of your life is how you choose to write it. We can either get caught up in the details of the story’s setting, the where, when, what that takes place, or we can focus on the who that is you. The story’s setting is simply the context in which it takes place, it is not the story itself. Many different tales could be told through the same exact setting, and you as the author get to choose how that story unfolds. Our perception is the pen with which we write the story of our reactions in the settings and situations that affect us.
Our perception is our reality, and this is the greatest power that we have. Albert Einstein said “Reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one”. The events and circumstances in our life do not dictate our perceptions, we choose what to make of every situation. This is one of the very few things we actually control – our mind and the way we perceive the world happening around us.
How we judge or perceive those events is the only choice we can make. Life is going to happen regardless, we are simply along for the ride. It is our perceptions that make a negative or positive judgement on those circumstances, and we react according to those judgements.
Our reactions show our character
It is not realistic to forever be the eternal optimist viewing everything as positive, nor be a continuous pessimist with every situation. This is where wisdom prevails in deriving our perception, and writing our story in whatever setting or context exists. As long as the current situation is not the ending of your story, you have the choice of how the story unfolds. Before reacting, take a moment to evaluate and see your story through these lenses:
- Is this about me? – So much of our life is wasted in scenes that have no bearing on our story. Ask yourself, “Am I responsible or accountable for the context I am facing now, is it materially important to my story? “ If not, then let it pass by you. If so, make take the action necessary, to write the story you want. Let it be a chapter of a lesson learned, necessary for a happy ending.
- Is there an alternate or opposite to consider? Every great story has a plot twist, something unseen that is revealed. Think through the situation and look at the opposite point of view. Everything in life has an opposite point of view. Take a hard look at it and give your character the depth of discernment.
- Is there a hidden opportunity? Every situation may have a silver lining that lies in our blind spots caused by our immediate reaction. Character growth is a great addition to your story. Finding the opportunity in the obstacles, may make the future chapters more compelling.
- Is this a time to pause and seek wisdom? The hero in every story has a mentor or a guide. Luke had Yoda, Rocky had Mickey, Harry had Dumbledore, and Danielson had Miyagi. Sometimes, the sub-plot of retreat in order to reflect and prepare, creates a great character arc and tells an additional story of a powerful relationship that makes the final edits.
- Is this a situation to demonstrate my character? Before the situation ever arose, and the story’s setting ever developed, the author has defined the character. Is the character of your life story the hero or the villain? This part of your story may be an opportunity to demonstrate the virtues of compassion and empathy that make the character fallible but loved by the audience anyway.
Your perceptions make your reality, and you as the author write your life story. It can be an anxiety filled incomprehensible novel of ‘shit happens’, or a novel that inspires the audience around you. How that story reads is based on your perceptions, of which you are in full control.
Today I escaped from anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions — not outside.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations