Fault No. 64: Storytelling

Us humans are great creatures, aren’t we? King of the modern jungle, top of the food chain, and we even figured out wireless internet. While we’re patting ourselves on the back, it’s only fair to look at a couple shortcomings for every ten points of upside that we have.

One of those shortcomings can be our knack for stories. I guess storytelling is a double whammy for us. It’s good and bad. It’s good when you’re three glasses of wine deep, and you and your six best friends are finishing up a four hour dinner and you’re hearing about what happened after your buddy stole his mother’s car in sixth grade to get a bag of chips at the store.

Our storytelling isn’t good usually when we’re participating in what’s called a narrative fallacy. This is when something happens, and we try to figure out what it means or why it happened. As a result, we look back into time and figure out “the story.” Nothing just happens, right? There’s always a thing, a reason, a story to explain it…


Well, no. Not always, but since stories are so captivating and helpful (especially when it comes to remembering things), they can get us into trouble when we make them up when they aren’t really there.

A guy finds out he has termites. The inspector comes and says it’s been a problem for some time, and he asks if he’s ever had the house inspected. Since he hasn’t and he’s looking at a $3000 bill to get rid of them, our man’s mind starts working backwards. “When I bought this house, the owners mentioned the fumigated every few years. UGH – I never do these adult things.” The man starts to think about what else he probably should do, but hasn’t. That’s right! He’s been putting off buying insurance, as well. Come to think of it, he didn’t really save any money this year, either. On goes the self-talk, “Really glad you bought that third watch, aren’t you?” After investigating further, he realizes he has been eating out a lot more and of course he has a damn bug problem because he’s too lazy to cook chicken at home every now and then. The result is: “Well, of course this happened! I’m irresponsible. This is what happens to irresponsible people. You’ve got no money in the bank, no insurance, and a bug problem.”

I’m not even this guy but reading this narrative fallacy is already overwhelming me. After hearing that story, I just want to sit on a couch and sulk (which he probably did). The funny thing is, his insurance or lack thereof has nothing to do with termites. Despite his impeccable logic, not cooking at home doesn’t have anything to do with the bugs, either. The fact of the matter is, he’s got a termite problem that he can’t take action on because, of course, the story is too big for that.

We do this all the time. The wheels start turning inside our heads when we miss the gym because of a few rough weeks at work. We get out of control, tell ourselves a story, and end up quitting. We panic, think there’s more to the story than what just happened and things aren’t real anymore.

If you like the stories you’re telling yourself that much, go for it. In the meantime, there are people that are able to put down their life’s novella long enough to get in the gym.

Don’t think. Show up.


Logan Gelbrich


3/11/16 WOD

Reebok CrossFit Games Open Workout 16.3


10 Power Snatches (75/55)

3 Bar Muscle Ups