The Single Biggest Lesson I Learned in 2020

Steve August
December 30, 2020
5 Rules for Rocket Ships
Bigger Game Mindset

This is my last weekly email of 2020, and I was originally thinking of writing a big ‘year that was’ recap and review.

But in the name of Ruthless Simplicity, I’ve just decided to cut to the chase and share the Single Biggest Lesson I learned in 2020.

That lesson can be summed up in four words:  Live outside your stories.

We all have stories we tell ourselves. Our brains, psyches, or whatever voices we have inside us, have been telling us stories about ourselves for a long time.

Whether we're good, bad, or insufficiently good enough, those stories are always spinning the world for us.

Our stories are the water we swim in and the air we breathe. They are so constant and transparent that we sometimes aren’t even aware of them. But they color everything.

Our stories define how we perceive other people since we are always making up stories to contextualize others in our world. And we also tell ourselves stories about how others perceive us.

Our stories control how we perceive the world. And how we perceive the world creates our reality.

Our stories have incredible power over us.

In the later part of this year, the big lesson that hit me was to live outside my stories.

The bad ones, of course. But also, and as importantly, the good ones. Because they can become traps enticing you to live up to an image that may not be really who we are.

I started saying that whether that internal voice was telling a good story about me or a bad story of lack and insufficiency, I'm not going to live inside those stories anymore.

Those stories have been my home for many years. They are familiar and known. But I found myself peeking outside the door and taking a step outside.

To step outside is to see things a different way. It's a little disorienting. But it also feels solid. Feels like firm ground. Or being able to see clearly.

It's a much more calm and centered place. Letting go of my stories created a sense of freedom and quiet.

Living outside your stories means you're dealing with everything just as you are. Without judgment. Without shame. Without guilt. You're just being.

Initially, that quiet was disorienting. It’s weird to suddenly not hear the noise. I didn't necessarily know what to do with it.

But as the past few weeks have gone on, the mental quiet and freedom are providing space for me to see things that have been there all along - ease, abundance, and joy.

So as you wrap up 2020 and turn your gaze towards 2021, I invite you to explore living outside your stories. See what the world feels like that way. I think it will make for a very different way of moving through life.

Thank you for being part of my year. It means so much to me that you allow me into your inbox each week. I wish you the very best New Year’s and all the blessings that 2021 can bring you.

Until next time,


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