How many times have you had a conversation with someone and thought to yourself, “Is this person nuts?”

“What are they thinking?”

“Why would they do that?”

Here’s the thing: they’re not out of their mind; the problem is the opposite, they’re in their mind.

They’re doing what I call Storytelling.

Storytelling is what your mind does when it makes up stories about what something might mean, and it usually leads to upset or loneliness.

Again, it’s not what is actually happening. It’s a story you have created based on what you fear might happen, or a reason you created in your mind as to why someone may be doing something. A simple example of this is when you walk by someone who laughs and there’s a part of your mind that thinks, “Was she laughing at me?”

Storytelling happens in all areas of your life.

Relationships: Imagining things should be or are supposed to be a certain way, even though the reality is they are not.

Work: When your boss calls you for a meeting and you start driving yourself nuts by telling yourself stories—you start obsessing over “Why is s/he calling me?” and “What did I do wrong?” 

Socially: When you think something a friend said means one thing, and then you talk to them and find out that’s not what they meant or were thinking at all. When a person looks at you and you start thinking they don’t like you or are making fun of you.

Storytelling comes in many different forms, but nonetheless, it always takes you away from the present moment and often times leads to fear, sadness, anger and anxiety. Storytelling creates the gap between what you’re imagining things to be, and reality—and this, my friends, is what leads to pain.

So how do you stop storytelling?

Being aware that you are storytelling is the first step to stopping it. When you start feeling anger, sadness, loneliness, ask yourself, What story is my mind creating about this situation? Is this what is really happening or is this what I am imagining/dreaming/fearing something to be or wanting/wishing something was? Have I created a story about what might be happening? \

You need to become present by focusing on where you are at the moment, and recognize what your mind is doing.

When you become present, the stories stop, and the gifts start appearing. You’ll see.

Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Gregg Korrol

Gregg Korrol is the author of The Gifted Storyteller: The Power is in the Story You Tell, a #1 Bestseller on Amazon with dozens of 5 Star reviews. Gregg additionally works in the field of education, with over 20 years experience as a teacher and school leader in NYC. He has received numerous awards and accolades as a leader in his field, and sat on various advisory teams for top education officials. Gregg’s passion is helping people see empowering meaning in the present moment and seize the opportunity to create lasting change.