I'm pleased to share with you a distinction that lies at the heart of how we human beings operate, and that impacts our actions, interactions and results in virtually every aspect of our lives - professionally and personally.
Being more conscious of this phenomena within ourselves opens the door to a new source of leverage for change, as well as a new experience of freedom for designing what we move want to be, do and have in the world. The invitation here is to explore the possibilities that become available as we begin to see – and utilize – this distinction in our organizations and in our everyday lives.
Events vs Explanations
One of my favorite quotes by Mark Twain is: “I’m always in conversation… and sometimes other people are involved!”
With just a little reflection, we can all see this in ourselves, too. We live in an ongoing stream of internal conversations, narratives that include stories about ourselves, other people, events, circumstances, the past, the future, what happened at work, what didn’t happen at work, what might happen at work… we could go on and on.
There’s nothing wrong with this, of course. In fact, it appears to be part the human condition.
So we experience many different types of events at home, at work, and everywhere in between. And as these events are unfolding, we all create interpretations, explanations and stories. The events belong to themselves… and the explanations belong to us!
We are each the author – the creator – of our own explanations and stories. We are each in an ongoing process of creation.
Which of these – the events of your life or your explanations about these events – are more influential as to the actual Actions you take in the world?
Your explanations, of course. And out of your Actions, you produce Results – in a wide variety of areas.
Are your explanations serving you? That is, are they taking you toward (or away from) what you say you want to be, do or have?
Many of us unconsciously use the “right / wrong” framework as we think about our and others' explanations (Is my explanation right or wrong? Is your explanation right or wrong?)
I invite you to use the “helpful / unhelpful” or “powerful / un-powerful” orientation instead. (Is my explanation helpful or unhelpful? Is it powerful or unpowerful? Is it effective or ineffective... given what I am seeking to be, do or have? Is it taking me where I say I want to go?)
The first steps: Noticing and taking responsibility as the author of your own explanations... that is, seeing your explanations as explanations, instead of "how things are." Because if you don’t see yourself as making up explanations now, and you want to create new Results in your life… the option of authoring more powerful explanations will simply never occur to you!