Our belief system is the bottleneck of our potential.
One of my favorite quotes about storytelling comes from Lisa Cron in "Wired for Story."
“Story, as it turns out, was crucial to our evolution—more so than opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs let us hang on; story told us what to hang on to.”
Beliefs can come from direct experience, but more often than not they are inherited from our environment. Stories contain worldviews, and they enter our systems and crystallize into beliefs that can be difficult (and emotionally expensive) to undo.
It's like technical debt.
When small teams iterate fast on software products to prove market fit, they often choose easy solutions that are fast to implement but come with limitations.
Building on top of a limited system and early mistakes accrue technical debt. When a product is mature enough, sometimes the only way to fix that debt is to rebuild the product from the ground up.
What about story debt?
How can we identify the roots of toxic, or unhelpful, beliefs that hold us back?
Sometimes the root is a false story we’ve internalized, or a collection of narratives.
Some stories function as adaptation or survival mechanisms in the face of hardship. But often times, even when they’re no longer useful to our survival, we hold on to them unconsciously
To thrive, we must constantly examine the stories we live by.