Is your story working?

Students, as you progress through high school, what stories are you telling yourself? This question is not the same as “What’s happened in your life in high school?” What actually happens is not always the same as the stories we tell ourselves.

If your coach decides to start the new transfer student in the spot that used to be yours, what story do you tell yourself?

One possible story is that it’s a miscarriage of justice, a tale of an opportunistic student who swooped in and stole—and a coach who heartlessly gave away—what was rightfully yours.

But you could also view that circumstance as one that’s actually good news. An unexpected source of talent just magically showed up. Sure, you’re disappointed not to start. But what a benefit to your team. What a boost to your chances of winning the league title you are hoping to claim. What an opportunity for you to play a different role as a supporter from the bench, to push yourself even harder in practice, to make you and other players better as you rise up to match the new position competition.

It’s one event, but two very different stories. And the one you decide to tell yourself makes all the difference.

I’m not suggesting that students or anyone else should ignore the realities of the world, especially the unpleasant ones. But there’s a difference between confronting brutal facts and creating demotivating stories.

Is it the situation, or the story you’re telling yourself about it, that’s not working?