Is the Story You’re Telling Yourself Just an Illusion?

Written by: Nick Ortner

A few weeks back, my friend Brendon Burchard came to Connecticut to visit. (You might know him as the NY Times bestselling author of “Motivation Manifesto,” amongst other great books).

We had a wonderful family BBQ at our house with both my siblings, Gabby Bernstein (“The Universe Has Your Back”) and Nick Polizzi (“The Sacred Science”) as well. It was a Hay House gang gathering!

The next day, we went in to NYC for some entertainment. I was excited to take them to a new off-Broadway show, which my cousin was involved in producing, called, “Derren Brown: SECRET”.

I’d seen Derren’s work on TV before and loved it! I’d also heard rave reviews about his show.

It’s virtually impossible to explain what happens in the 2-hour show, but basically, he’s a mentalist/illusionist/magician. It was an intimate setting, with 200 people in a small theatre, making what happened feel even more powerful.

One of the “themes” of the show that Derren kept bringing up is, “What you think you’re seeing tonight is about the story you’re telling yourself, not necessarily about what’s happening”.

He kept on reiterating that he wasn’t a mind-reader, he wasn’t doing the impossible, it just looked that way, and that was in part because of the narrative that each audience member was constructing about what they were witnessing happen.

What you think you’re seeing tonight is about the story you’re telling yourself, not necessarily about what’s happening.

Can you see the places in your life where this might be happening? The places where you tell a story about yourself, where you believe something is true, but maybe it isn’t? The areas where you’ve been saying, “I am this way…” for so long that it’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Whatever your biggest challenges are in your life, it’s my bet that there are some “beliefs” that are keeping you stuck in them.

Trouble sleeping? “I’m not a good sleeper.” Trouble with money? “I’ve never been good at managing money.” Trouble with your body? “My body doesn’t heal the way other peoples’ bodies do.”

On and on it goes…

Now that’s the bad news. These beliefs are keeping you stuck. The good news is that you now have the power, at your fingertips, to rewrite these beliefs, to stop these patterns of thinking in their tracks. It can be as simple as identifying that limiting belief, and tapping on it.

And with those taps, we slowly (and sometimes quickly), begin to tell NEW stories about ourselves.

Derren BrownThe run of Derren’s show just ended, but the producers are trying to bring it to Broadway, and if that happens, I’ll be sure to let you know about it because it’s just that good.

I’ve thought about the ending of the show virtually every day since. It’s a grand finale that just makes you go, “WHAT????” LOL!

I wish I could tell you more, but Derren made us promise to keep it all a “Secret” and not ruin it for others. Plus, there are so many threads that pull together in the end, it’s too difficult to even explain!

I will tell you a little part of the show, though, that I don’t think he’d mind me sharing. At one point, he brought out a banana and put it on a brass stand on the front corner of the stage, with a spotlight shining on it.

It was as visible as could be, especially in that small audience. He told us, that at one point during the show, a man in a large gorilla suit would walk on stage and take the banana. And of course, we’re all thinking, no way we’d miss that!

Well, sure enough, the banana disappeared – TWICE! It was simple, and doesn’t explain the power of the rest of the tricks, but a great example of how we can miss what’s right in front of us.

So my questions for you today are,

“What story are you telling yourself that might not be true?” And, “Where is your attention focused and how might your life change if you could focus it elsewhere, in a more positive direction?”

If you want a little peek at Derren’s work, here’s a video from YouTube from when he performed for “Stand Up To Cancer”. (There’s a little foul language in the video, just to be aware.)

If you want to check out his work further, here’s a full show (different from the one I saw but still very entertaining), that he did a while back:

They’re worth a watch!

Until next time…

Keep Tapping! (and writing new stories about yourself!)

Nick Ortner

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4 Comments on this post

  1. Gem says:


  2. Karin says:

    Woooow!!! Thank you for sharing it

  3. Sherri says:

    Amazing show, Nick.. thanks for sharing ~

  4. Lori says:

    What a fun post 🙂

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