You wake up in the morning. You do the usual -shower, dress and eat breakfast. You then choose your route to work. It could be just habit that drives that choice or new information. You get to work. This job that you probably made the choice to apply for. It is within your power that day to either get some work done or play around on social media. Consequences of the latter option aside, it is still you who gets to make the choice. At the end (or middle) of a hard week, you may opt to go relax with friends. You will make the choice on what to eat or drink and you will also decide on what your contribution to any conversation will be. On Sunday, you may go to church (which again is your choice) and spend time with family. The week can repeat itself again and again in a similar manner. This then becomes the narrative i.e. the way life just is. You may like or complain about the job, but it is your choice to work there. Just like it is to be with your friends or be productive. Alternatively, if you make different choices, however simple it can change. How does arriving at work at ten am instead of seven am alter the day or week? You may get into trouble or may actually find this more productive as you take advantage of working in a quiet environment. The different results can be endless just by changing one aspect of the same narrative. Or it can be the same story over and over again because the choice has not been made to change the narrative. Complaining is not a choice towards changing your story.
When Anna was in Standard 6, she decided to alter her narrative. She used to fail all her science tests and exams. She, therefore, concluded she couldn’t do it, science was not for her and even her teachers continuously reinforced this. She just didn’t bother putting in the effort. Then one day she decided to take control. She had just failed yet again another science test. She decided to prove to herself she was not stupid. She went home and studied harder than she had ever done. Anna hardly talked to anybody that evening. She ended up doing really well in the next test. That one incident proved to her that she could succeed if she wanted to. Not if her parents or teacher wanted it, but if she did. There are things in this event that Anna had no control over. What questions would be on the science test? Whether she would even pass despite efforts. But she could still choose to go home, study and give it her best shot. James is a student at University. In one of his courses, students had to present a success story on any individual. Whilst most of his classmates, read articles on the web and then regurgitated them, James went out of his way to find a real, local person to speak to. He then put together a power point presentation on it. This effort led to the lecturer deciding to personally mentor him and because of that, he is now on his second internship, whilst still at the 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. It changes what he will be able to say at a job interview.
At any point, we are all determining what our own narratives will be, and that is a choice. It can be the narrative of a victim. For example, the campus student who is complaining about not getting an internship but has never made the choice to do anything different. It can be the working adult who wants a salary increase but continues to spend recklessly. Alternatively, it can be the narrative of somebody who has decided to take control over their own 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 or spread a victim mentality. We obviously need to use practical facts as and when needed, and also know that there are some things out of our individual control in any situation. However, when you do go to bed at night always challenge what you did with the day that you were given and what you can still do despite any challenges. There is always something you can do no matter how big or small, irrespective of your external circumstances. Also challenge how you thought and spoke about yourself, your work, your finances, your neighbor, your country etc.
In any of these areas were your thoughts, words or actions part of the solution or part of the problem? Let’s challenge ourselves to decide and take control of our own stories. You may be wondering what this has to do with my usual topics of money, wealth creation, entrepreneurship etc. Even as I weave these topics back in next week there are a couple of themes to consider. We cannot simply keep doing the same thing the same way. Even one small change can have a big impact in your life and those around you. Remember there was a lecturer who also made a choice to mentor. It could be as simple as choosing to change your conversations or applying wisdom in what you decide to share online. We need to find a purpose that drives us and makes a difference. We also need to take one hundred percent (or as close as possible) responsibility. As we rapidly approach a new year, start thinking about what narrative you will adopt that will be different from those you have simply repeated, accepted or have been handed down to you. Your story, Your life.
Waceke is the Founder of Centonomy the Wealth Creation Training Company. You can contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org| Facebook| Waceke Nduati | Twitter @cekenduati