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222: Your Beliefs Are Stories

Humans are hardwired to feel that their beliefs are real. We filter all that we see and hear through our beliefs and think that the world we perceive is objective reality.

There is so much evidence to prove that all beliefs are just made up stories. Why do we make them up? In order to feel that our lives are on solid ground. There is an upside to that. There is also a major downside.

Our beliefs often clash with the beliefs of others. If we hold on to our narratives tightly we will experience discord, even violence and unhappiness.

Also, if we insist that our beliefs are object reality, it becomes hard for us to empathize with and understand people with very different beliefs than others. And, our blindness makes us vulnerable to unconsciously adopting beliefs that can harm us and others.

A great example of a belief that was passionately held as true was the idea that the German people were the master race,and that Jews were subhumans who should be exterminated. We must not forget that a large segment of German society embraced that belief without question. More importantly, the people who embraced Naziism were, for the most part, ordinary human beings like you and me.

The moment we get beyond our fear of letting beliefs go and accepting that they are stories, we step into the power to create any narrative we want to enrich and empower our lives.

214: Power of Story

STORY POWER

Never underestimate story power. A work of pure fiction has  the power to enrich your life or to end it.

Today, we live in a world where powerful narratives of division and hate are leading to death and destruction.

One of the most powerful contemporary stories is the myth of white supremacy.

Do you understand and acknowledge story power in your life?

204: Stages of Truth

3 stages of truth

STAGES OF TRUTH

The philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, gave us the concept of the three stages of truth. There’s a debate about whether or not it was Schopenhauer. That’s not what this podcast is about.

This episode explores the brilliant observation that any new truth must pass through three stages before it is fully accepted and embraced by society.

The three stages of truth are:

  1. Ridicule
  2. Violent Opposition
  3. Self Evident

It’s fascinating that people will accept something as self evident, and, at that stage, even embrace it and passionately promote it after they violently opposed it. What does that mean?

It means that humans are hardwired to strongly resist change and to make many of their choices irrationally. Most of our decisions are emotionally based and rationally justified. That’s what makes us storytelling machines.

Here are some examples in our world of things that have either passed through or are still going through the three stages of truth.

  • The automobile
  • The airplane
  • Franchise business model
  • Network marketing business model
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Cannabis

Why is it important to understand this phenomenon? Because we tend to do it unconsciously. That can lead to accepting limiting beliefs about life, about our own capabilities, and about what is possible. Unless we question or challenge our beliefs, we cannot discover if they support or harm us.

Today, we are surrounded by persuasive media messages 24/7. Many of those messages are dictating the stories we should live by. And, unknowingly, we accept those stories.

This podcast challenges you to create your stories, your life narratives, by design, and to not accept them by default.

Listen to this episode with an open mind, a sense of adventure and courage, and then take the challenge to question your beliefs and transform your life with an empowering story that you create.

201: Throne Story

game of thrones

GAME OF THRONES

What secrets can you learn from Game of Thrones? More than you can imagine.

This episode reveals some fascinating gems in the finale of the epic series, Game of Thrones. There are powerful lessons in the show about life, power, and storytelling.

First, we must answer the question, “Who won the Game of Thrones?” We know that Bran the Broken was named emperor of six kingdoms. Many audience members were shocked and appalled by this choice.

But, did Bran really win the throne? I don’t think so. I believe that true leader and winner of the game is Tyrion Lannister. The last episode demonstrates this beautifully. And, it is perfect.

Tyrion is the only character fit to rule. Here’s why:

  • Compassion – Tyrion is a deeply compassionate person. He genuinely cares about people.
  • Intelligence – No one in the seven kingdoms is smarter than Tyrion Lannister.
  • Diplomacy – Tyrion has proven himself as the ultimate diplomatic negotiator throughout all eight seasons o Game of Thrones.
  • Violence – Though not essentially a cruel person, Tyrion will use violence if it is his only option to survive or serve the common good.

The events of the finale that point clearly to Tyrion’s victory:

  • Tyrion is condemned to death for treason.
  • Tyrion persuades John Snow to betray Daenerys  Targaryen, the dragon queen.
  • Tyrion talks his way out of execution
  • Tyrion persuades a ruling council to appoint Bran the Broken emperor
  • Bran appoints Tyrion his Hand

Those five events are crucial steps in Tyrion’s deft maneuvers to claim the empire’s true power. Bran will serve as figurehead king. Tyrion will pull the strings behind the scenes as his advisor.

POWER OF STORY

One of the most profound and brilliant insights in the episode is revealed in the monet when Tyrion explains why Bran is the perfect choice as emperor. Tyrion says that the true power of nations is not in gold or flags. It is in stories. Nothing is more powerful than a great story.

Bran’s story has mythological qualities. He began as a mere mortal boy who survived a fall from a great height that should have killed him. Then, he developed prophetic powers. That story makes him more than human.

Tyrion knows that people don’t follow leaders. They follow the story in their heads about those leaders. Civilizations are built and destroyed based on stories. Think of the Bible and the Koran.

Tyrion has mastered the psychology of leadership. He knows that his own story will not inspire people, but Bran’s story will. He also knows that he can have a powerful influence on Bran’s thoughts and actions.

Tyrion rules! As he should.

BOOK FOR THIS PODCAST

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

The Game by Neil Strauss

196: “True” Stories

True Stories

TRUE STORIES

Is it possible for a true story to be untrue? Yes.

Although true stories are based on”facts,” the person “telling” the story must present those facts in a frame that carries his/her bias  or interpretation of the facts.

Simply put, what we call objective reality is always tinged by subjectivity. What you look at is always colored by the lens through which you view it.

This episode explores fascinating examples of this. The first one focuses on a famous Impressionist painting, “Le Pont de l’Europe,” by Gustave Caillebotte. The English translation is “The Bridge of Europe.”

The painting seems like a realistic representation of the bridge. Closer inspection reveals a “distorted” or exaggerated perspective that the artist used to create specific feelings and thoughts about his society.

You may be intrigued when you learn about:

  • Diane Arbus – her famous photographs of people are far from objective representations of their subjects.
  • Leni Riefenstahl – the images in her brilliant “documentary” films, “Triumph of the Will,” about Hitler’s Nuremberg rally, and her movie about the German Olympics can be seen as propaganda.
  • Rashomon, a play based on two Japanese short stories, and, later, a film thriller by Akira Kurosawa, examines the nature of truth.

This episode challenges your critical thinking and asks you to not get intellectually lazy about the questions, “What are facts?” and, “Are there any true stories?”