A friend said this on the phone: “I’m sorry this is taking me so long. I’m really bad at computers.”
My reply: “Why would you say it that way?”
“I understand that you’re reporting on what you see as being a matter of fact. But why not say it this way: ‘Computers have been a challenge for me, but I find I’m getting better with experience.’ You’re telling the exact same truth, not misrepresenting anything. But by focusing on what you’re doing right, you’ll improve your future performance just by changing your attitude.”
I’m not talking about canned affirmations. I’m talking about the words you choose when you’re telling the unshaded truth about your life, your mind, your talents, your work, your relationships.
You can say: “I’m a lousy writer.” But you can be just as truthful by saying this instead: “It hasn’t been easy for me to improve my writing skills, but I’m finding that hard work is paying off for me.”
You can say: “I always get lost when I go someplace for the first time.” But it would be equally factual to say, “I find it beneficial to prepare carefully before I travel to an unfamiliar neighborhood.”
You can say: “I’ll probably lose.” But you would be no less honest to say, “I just might win.”
The statements you make about yourself might seem to you to be statements of fact at the time you are making them. But whatever truth there might be in those expressions right now, you are also writing the script for your future. Saying “I’ll probably lose” is functionally equivalent to saying “I’ll never win.” If you don’t mean to say that you can never, ever get anything right, then stop telling these brutal lies about yourself.
If you invert those expressions instead — concentrating on everything you get right, not everything you get wrong — by that one simple change of habit you will rewrite the script of your future. There’s no telling how high you can rise, once you stop putting yourself down, but, at a minimum, you will write yourself a much happier ending.
Here’s what I say: I’m working very hard to change the world for the better — for myself, for my family and friends, and for everyone. Here is how you can help: Stop telling those awful lies about your life, and start telling beautiful truths instead.
Reasons to be cheerful: Defying the specter of ugly fates.
- Part 0: The ground we stand upon is firm and the lever of the human mind grows ever stronger.
- Part 0.5: Sleeping giants can’t sleep forever.
- Part 1: Things rarely change as quickly or as dramatically as we expect them to.
- Part 1.5: Who cares about the tunnel? All I can see is the light…
- Part 2: If we are wise, and if we are lucky, we won’t “meet the new boss” because there won’t be any bosses.
- Part 2.5: It’s raining soup and all you can do is piss and moan that Big Mother hasn’t given you a free bowl.
- Part 2.9: Marksmanship is a perfectible praxis.
- Part 2.9.5: Carrying a concealed firearm is the first step to reclaiming responsibility for your own self-defense.
- Part 3.0.0: While it may be implausible that western civilization could collapse, this much seems certain: You will not be prepared for what happens next.
- Part 3.0.1: You are ungovernable: Other people have power over you only because you have surrendered your own sovereign authority to them — and they can’t stop you from taking it back.
- Part 3.0.2: What has it cost us to have been so wrong for so long about selflessness and self-adoration?
- Part 3.0.3: When you resolve never to let other people dominate you, you come to be indomitable.
- Part 3.1: The song of the self.
- Part 3.1.1: Psalm.
- Part 3.1.2: Redemption is egoism in action, so do the world a favor and catch your self doing something right.
- Part 3.1.3: Praising Cain: Change the world forever by learning to love your life the way you actually live it.
- Part 3.1.4: “Get me rewrite!” How to revise the script of your life — writing yourself a happy ending.
- Part 3.2: Yuppie love: The egoist’s guide to mastering the art of frolicking naked with the one you love.