I know that happened because of something about me.


We are masterful storytellers. The instant someone does or doesn’t do something, the storyteller in our mind goes to work crafting the story and explaining why. For example:

–Man meets a woman and asks if he can call her to arrange a date. Man doesn’t call.

–You interview for a new position and don’t get it.

–A teacher who is always friendly with students walks by and doesn’t say hello to a student who disagreed with him in a class discussion.

–A woman sends a submission to an agency and hears nothing back.

Most of us quickly reach conclusions about the above scenarios. We think the man who didn’t call doesn’t really like the woman, someone better got the job, the teacher no longer likes the student for disagreeing in class, and the woman’s portfolio isn’t good enough.

In truth, we have no idea what really happened.

Perhaps the man didn’t call because he’s married, he’s busy, he loves collecting phone numbers, he’s afraid, he reconciled with someone, his mother told him not to, he lost the number, or he’s decided to join a monastery. How could we know?

Maybe the interviewer gave the job to a friend, maybe it was eliminated, maybe she is going through something in her personal life and isn’t making good decisions, maybe you are too qualified, or maybe the universe is sending a better job your way.


In every scenario, there is only one thing we know for sure:

–The man didn’t call.

–You didn’t get the position.

–The teacher didn’t say hello.

–The agency did not respond.

There is nothing more to conclude, nothing.

The danger arises when we create stories rife with negative judgments about ourselves. Once we make up a story, it becomes true for us. The next time we encounter a similar situation, the story plays in our minds and colors our perceptions. If things don’t turn out the way we want, we write another chapter and add it to the first. Left unchecked, we can write a personal Encyclopedia of Failure wholly based on fabricated stories.

False stories weaken our self-confidence, undermine inner peace, and cast the world in an unfriendly light.

Wisdom tells us to assume nothing and stick to the facts.

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