My Mortgage Blog

So, what stories do you make up when you're in the midst of struggle? When you're in a fall?

I read a great blog post from Vince Fowler, business coach and Tedx Speaker here in Calgary. It was about stories and why the stories we make up in our head, in the absence of information, are usually worse than the reality.

September is a great time to get your mind straight - it is second January after all!

Vince starts off his blog with the science

"Rarely, if ever, are the stories our brain makes up helpful or supportive in our learning and growth.

"Our brain makes up a story for a few reasons;

  • Our brain is wired for story. It values a neat and tidy beginning, middle and end, because…
    the brain is chemically rewarded (dopamine) to make up a story – that “ah-ha” moment when we recognize a complete pattern
  • Our brains value certainty over accuracy – in other words, the brain will instinctively fabricate a story even when all the facts (data) aren’t known. It’s called a “confabulation”… said another way, it’s a lie told honestly
  • And our brain does all of this to self protect (due to one of a few facts like our brain is wired more for survival than thrival)."

We have conversations about this all the time at our team meetings! We are all guilty of it and it seems way worse at 3am when you can't sleep.

In Vince's blog his example is related to a business proposal, but you can just as easily substitute "proposal" with "CMA" or "mortgage options". The story is basically the same.

We make up stories and they aren't helpful. They don't help our mindset. They don't help us get our much needed rest. They certainly don't help our stress levels.

So why do we make up stories?

According to Brené Brown, Ph.D, in her book Rising Strong, "In the absence of data, we will always make up stories. In fact, the need to make up a story, especially when we are hurt, is part of our most primitive survival wiring. Mean making is in our biology, and our default is often to come up with a story that makes sense, feels familiar, and offers us insight into how best to self-protect."

The funny thing is these stories just make things worse. Brené says in an interview with Oprah, "the body keeps score and it always wins." How true is that!

So what can we do about these stories and confabulations?

Vince says, "Don’t get mad, get data. What more can you learn about the situation vs immediately jumping to conclusions? Think of an iceberg – the 10% of ice above the waterline represents what we know about any given situation. The 90% of the iceberg – below the waterline – is what we don’t know, and what our brains are fabricating."

These stories, if you don't seek the truth, go on to change the way you treat that prospect/client/broker, from that point forward. What if you do that and there's no need?

Did someone simply not respond to my email? I email them again - people get busy, side-tracked and things fall off their to-do list. It's not intentional, it's human. If it's bigger than that, I pick up the phone. No email, not text. Leave no room for misunderstanding. Pick up the phone and call your prospect, your client, your mortgage broker.

You'll be surprised that the reality is so much nicer than the stories you make up in your head.