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It’s entirely up to you

If People magazine voted Frankenstein “The Coolest Man of the Year” over George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Denzel Washington, would you accept their conclusion or would you disagree?

If you chose the second option, it’s probably because you know you’re not required to believe everything you’re told. There are many reasons why you have the right to question certain factual claims. One of those reasons is the distinction between “facts” and “interpretations.”

A “fact” is the accurate reporting of a given event or set of conditions.

An “interpretation” is the meaning or implication derived from facts.

Facts are objective. Interpretations are subjective.

Facts tell us what is. Interpretations express the judgements we make about what is.

We commonly assume that the stories we tell about our lives are primarily composed of facts. The fact is, however, that most of our so-called facts are actually interpretations that we allow to go unquestioned.

For instance, suppose it rains on the day I am supposed to have a picnic.

I might be inclined to react to such an event by asserting:

“That stinks! What a horrible day! I have such bad luck”

The real fact goes something like this:

Rain fell from the sky on the same day I was planning to have a picnic.

That’s it! The “it’s horrible” part is something I get to add in or leave out at my own discretion. It’s simply a judgement which expresses how I’m processing the fact.

In a similar way, your obstacles and problems are not facts. They are interpretations. When you open your mind to that distinction, you realize that the world around you is not as fixed and unchanging as it often appears.

Statements like “Life stinks”, “I can’t change”, “Everybody’s out to get me”, “I’ll never be happy”, “That’s impossible”, “It takes money to make money”, “I can’t buy a break” and “Nobody cares about me” all belong in the same category as this one…

“Frankenstein is cooler than George Clooney.”

I’m not saying it’s untrue. I’m only saying that it’s entirely up to you.

So, why not have it YOUR way?

T.K. Coleman

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