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Friday Refill: Consider an Alternate Story

Published 1/29/2021

Much of our lives are determined by our internal voices. These voices tell us a story that is hard to imagine differently. But it's an important skill to consider an alternate story.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone, happy Friday! You are listening to the second Friday Refill. As we've mentioned before, Friday Refill's are intended to give you the motivation and the energy to go into your weekend not feeling defeated, not feeling like you have to recuperate from a full week of being beaten down, but instead going into your week resting with energy, resting with purpose, resting with the idea that you are getting ready for something else. That's coming next week. So I'm excited for this Friday Refill. If you feel my name is Jonathan Cutrell, this is a part of the show, Developer Tea. So you're not in the wrong place. If you're looking for Developer Tea, this is a part of Developer Tea. We are doing these Friday Re fills if you miss the first one. Go back and check it out as well. Much of our reality is played over in our minds. Much of our reality is determined by the chatter in our minds. In fact, there's a new book called Chatter. I've recently started reading this. And it's part of the inspiration for today, as episode. But much of our reality is based on our replaying, our construction of all of the random events that are happening, and the assimilation of those events to make some kind of meaning. And in today's episode, in this Friday Refill, I want to suggest and give you a piece of advice about this construction process. Because here's the reality. There are so many ways that the assimilation of those events can happen. But the interesting thing is that, as we talked about recently, the shape of our work on the show, much of the ways that we assemble our reality, much of the ways that we reconstruct whatever happened, our memories, and even trying to construct what the future will look like, even our perception in the present is an echo that is shaped like us. Our experiences from the past and our upbringing, for example, all of these things that make us unique, that is the backdrop. You can think about this as the set of tools, if you want to, or maybe the contour, the shape of your construction process. Because it's not unimpininated. We don't have perfect ways of viewing reality, perceiving reality. In fact, we are limited. We're even concretely limited to our senses. You can imagine that the way that someone who has a particular strong sense, for example, say that they have very good eyesight, or they have a particularly heightened sense of smell, they might recreate the same event that another person has experienced, they may recreate it very differently because of their actual physical senses, the way they take in information. But it's not just about those raw, kind of peripheral ways that we take in information. It also extends to the way that we make sense of that information. You can imagine taking that information, like it's a cup of paint, and you're splashing it on the wall, where all of your previous experiences exist. And all of those previous experiences have their own colors. And this paint is not particularly thick, it's not going to land and cover up all of the rest of the paint. It's going to mix with your experiences. And not only your experiences, but also the things that you have an experience that have been imposed on you, even by culture. This is more of that backdrop. You can imagine that that's like the texture on that canvas. And so the same cup of paint, the same experience, the same fundamental event, might happen to two different people. And the outcome, what happens when you splash that paint on the wall on that canvas, is entirely different. In fact, it is so different from each other, and is unrecognizable. So as you go through those experiences, as you try to recreate your understanding, my suggestion, my advice for you is to always consider an alternate story. Always consider an alternate story. Now this isn't just saying, well, I'm going to play the devil's advocate. This is fundamentally questioning your basic assumptions. Not your primary assumptions, but even the most simple changes. Always consider an alternate story. The changes that you can consider is even the words that you use to describe an event. Imagine using a different word. Imagine being a different person experiencing the same event. Imagine being a different age. Imagine having different belongings. These are all ways that you can adjust your perspective. And you can do this iteratively. What if I was 5% different than I am? What would that look like? How can I imagine 5% different? Well, I might have a little bit more money. Maybe that would change the way that I think about something. We're not perfect simulators of these alternate realities. But what this should do, if we're always considering an alternate reality, especially when we are replaying critically important events in our lives and our minds, if we're considering an alternate reality, what we're doing is we're reinforcing to ourselves a very important truth, one that's often forgotten. And that is that our perception is not perfect. Our perception is not a complete picture. We do not have the full understanding of reality. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. This Friday refill of Developer Tea. Have a great weekend. And until next time, enjoy your tea.