You’re Not That Great. You’re Not That Bad Either

In the stories you tell about your goings on in the world, are you the villain or the hero? Some people’s repertoires are filled with tales of idiots endured and fools set right, while others’ recite litanies of failure with an unrelenting voice of self-depreciation.

We’re not as great or as ghastly as we’re tempted to put it to others, and we’re not doing ourselves any favors by perpetually casting ourselves in these roles. If the narrative arc of everything you recount proceeds from some moron wreaking havoc to you with a one-liner that saves the day, I don’t believe you. If you’re always the moron, I don’t trust you. I pity you, but I don’t trust you.

Let’s pay attention to the trends in our stories and protect against the contrasting faults both of exaggerating our effectiveness and amplifying our failures.