You wake up in the morning. You do the usual – shower, dress and eat breakfast. You then choose your route to work. You get to work. All of this is habits which you have chosen to adopt.
In the course of your day, you either get some work done or play around on social media. At the end (or middle) of a hard week, you go relax with friends, or you stay in. You choose what to eat or drink, and what your contribution to any conversation will be.
On Sunday, you may go to church and / or spend time with family. These are choices you consciously make.
This week repeats itself maybe 45 times a year. This then becomes the narrative i.e. the way life just is. You may like or complain about parts of it, but it is the sum total of your choices.
If you make different choices, it can change. Or it can be the same story over and over again.
It’s your choice to do so – but remember, simply complaining about things doesn’t change anything.
Anna was in Standard 6 when she decided that science was not for her because she used to fail all her science tests. Then one day she decided to take control and change that narrative. She went home and studied harder then she had ever done.
She ended up doing really well in the next test. That one incident proved to her that she could succeed if she wanted to.
James is a university student. In one of his courses, students had to present a success story on any individual.
While most of his classmates read articles on the Internet and then regurgitated them, James went out of his way to find a real, local person to speak to.
He then put together a PowerPoint presentation on it. This effort led to the lecturer personally mentoring him and because of that, he is now on his second internship, whilst still in campus.
He had no idea or control about where his extra efforts would lead to but he could still make the choice to do so.
That simple act has probably changed James’ life narrative.
CHOICE TO DETERMINE NARRATIVE
At any point we are all determining what our narratives will be, and that is a choice. You can be a victim, always complaining about the way things are going.
You can choose to be the working adult who wants a salary increase but continues to spend recklessly. Alternatively, it can be the narrative of somebody who has taken control of their lives.
In the last couple of months, it has been extra hard to shut out narratives that don’t work for us, given what the country has been going through.
Things may be more challenging than usual, but it still does not help to play victim. Some things may be out of our individual control, such as the political climate and incidences of violence that disrupt business, however, you can do what you can to change your narrative in spite of the challenges.
You can challenge yourself to change how you think about your finances, your workplace or your business, for example. You can also prime your mind to focus on solutions instead of on problems.
Even one small change can have a big impact in your life and those around you. Let’s challenge ourselves to take control of our own stories.
Waceke is the founder of Centonomy. You can contact her on [email protected]| Facebook| Waceke Nduati | Twitter @cekenduati