What we Tell Ourselves

We learn from all of our experiences and from everyone we meet, although at the time we might not realize the impact they have on us.

I love stories. My kindergarten teacher, Ms. Burdette, was one of the best storytellers I’ve ever heard and I’ve met some great ones. In many ways she was my first life teacher. She always got me to dig deeper, to get excited and to smile and laugh. Now that’s pretty good.

Since then I’ve had many more teachers and mentors who have all contributed to who I am today. Sometimes you don’t even remember their name, but you usually remember the story they told you, some more profound than others.

When you are a writer, you’re always looking for that next story or insight to share and when it comes to you, it’s a gift. So it was with delight when my youngest daughter, Savanna, a teacher herself, made such a gift.

Like life, there can be many variations of this story—the ones that have the power to shape your life. The most powerful being the ones we tell ourselves.

A son and his father were hiking in the mountains—suddenly, the son falls, hurts himself and screams:

To his surprise, somewhere in the mountain he hears a voice repeating: “AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

Curious, he yells: “Who are you?”
He receives the answer: “Who are you?”

Angered at the response, he screams: “Coward!”
He receives the answer: “Coward!”

He looks to his father and asks: “What’s going on?”
The father smiles and says: “My son, pay attention.”

And then the father screams to the mountain: “I admire you!”
The voice answers back: “I admire you!”

Then the father yells triumphantly: “You are a champion!”
The voice answers: “You are a champion!”

The boy is surprised, but does not understand.
Then the father explains: “People call this ECHO,
but really this is LIFE. It gives you back everything you say or do.”

This principle applies to all aspects of our lives. It gives you back what you think and believe. It gives you back everything you have given to it.

Life is for giving, loving, teaching, learning and sharing all you are and will ever be; your joys, your sorrows, your triumphs and your disappointments. And of course, your smiles.

If you want more love, create more love in your heart.
 If you want more joy, be joyful. And if you want to live a more interesting life, be open to new people and new ideas.


As I’ve said before, quite often you don’t remember the name of the person who tells you the story, even though you remember their story for many years afterwards.

Savanna and I were curious as to who wrote this story. We found the story on the internet (I sure wished we had the internet when I was in college), but the author was unknown. Whoever you are, thank you for the gift of your wisdom.

As the father in the story reminds us, what we tell ourselves becomes our story and the lens from which we perceive the world. Sometimes the story gets old. If you don’t like it, change the lens.

You know that I love to hear from you. What is the story you have been telling yourself? Please feel free to share this message with those in your circle.

Journey On


Mark Susnow is a life coach and advisor, speaker to many prestigious organizations, and the author of Dancing on the River: Navigating Life’s Changes and the soon to be released the Soul of Uncertainty. A former attorney and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in today’s world with the wisdom revealed to him through years of meditation and yoga. http://www.inspirepossiblity.com; mark@inspirepossibility.com; 415.453.5016

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