Life happens, situations occur. We interpret the events of our lives one way or another, weaving them into our life story. Different people see the same thing differently, attach different meanings, come to different conclusions about the exact same reality.
There is great power in the stories we tell ourselves. A positive spin sends our lives in one direction, pessimistic interpretations point us in another. I was reminded of this truth as I read a Sports Illustrated article about University of Florida football coach Urban Meyer’s youth. When Urban was 4 years old he crossed the street in front of his house without permission and was hit by a car: “He sprawled on the pavement, limp, his left leg broken at the hip and his head, ‘bleeding like crazy.’ …Urban’s lower body was immobilized in a cast, and after he went home, he spent another two months scooting around on his butt, imprisoned legs extended…” (Sports Illustrated, December 12, 2009.)
There are many ways for anyone to react to this incident, many ways for a child to form life-long impressions. The world is a dangerous place, not to be trusted. To be safe, one must always be cautious, perhaps even apprehensive. That would certainly be a valid perspective, perhaps even a reasonable one.
Young Urban chose a different interpretation: Urban “cultivate(d) the self-image of a survivor, unstoppable even as a child.”
I suspect that choice to tell himself a positive story (and a continued bias toward the positive) was and is a powerful factor in Meyer’s success in life.
What are the major stories of your life? Do they serve you? Is there a way to look at them, to interpret them so they do serve you?
“Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.” — Bill Meyer
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” — Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan, 1893
“If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.” — Vince Lombardi