I'm writing a new book. It's really thrilling. The working title is Tell Yourself the Story You Want to Live. Live the Story You Want to Tell.
I’ve been curious about this topic for years: how do the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves, affect our behavior and ultimately how our lives unfold? Why do some people see themselves with unabashed confidence, whereas others with similar talents and traits feel like losers? How do small stories that we tell ourselves ("I don't eat Indian food" or "I'm not the kind of person who goes camping") ripple into other areas of our lives?
I've just finished writing the book proposal, and already, the research has been fascinating.
Here's my favorite nugget of insight so far:
Our brains are wired to mitigate uncertainty and create order in the world. When something bad happens and you blame yourself, your brain thinks, “Oh, the world isn’t so uncertain. I caused this. This negative event wasn’t random; I did it. I suck.” Our brains reward us with a hit of dopamine for reducing the perceived level of uncertainty in the world. It’s the same dopamine rush when you see you have new “Likes” on Facebook or Instagram.
Even if you’re incorrect about whether the event was your fault, the reward center is triggered because the Mammalian brain loves control.
If you find yourself repeating a negative story—or even clinging to it—it’s because your brain was wired to reward you for doing just that!
Stay tuned for more updates on the writing process and more of my favorite nuggets of research.