Humans 101

The Stories You Tell Yourself Make or Break You

Discontentment begins and ends in your head

Don Johnson
Human Parts
Published in
4 min readApr 19, 2021

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Photo: Jordan Cortese / EyeEm / Getty Images

Recently, I sat with my wife in our back garden, a small fire burning in front of us, smoke curling up, the earthy smell of peat hanging in the cool air. I looked up at the stars and planets, sparkling bright in the clear, pitch-black evening sky. A peaceful feeling wrapped me like a warm blanket. I felt so good.

After about an hour, my wife said she wanted to go inside. Seconds after she left, my mind kicked in: “Why is she going in? She should stay out here with me. If we were on a date, she wouldn’t just get up and leave. Not very romantic of her. Maybe she doesn’t love me like she used to.”

I could feel the air slowly leaking out of my tires — the beautiful feeling of peace slowly dissolving into a subtle disturbance.

As I thought about the story I’d created, I remembered the work of former Harvard professor Chris Argyris who explained how our brains selectively take in data, add meaning, and form conclusions and beliefs in milliseconds. He captured this neurological process in a model he called the “Ladder of Inference.”

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Don Johnson
Human Parts

Author | Meditation Teacher | Advocate for Kindness, Respect & Freedom | Human Potential Coach | Connect with me here: www.bemoreconscious.com