The stories we tell ourselves

When I was younger I had a friend who used to chew gum whenever he got thirsty. He would always carry a packet of gum around with him in case he need a drink and we weren’t near a tap, thinking that by activating the saliva in his mouth he was re-hydrating his body.

I never wanted to correct him because it was something he truly believed, and he seemed to feel better once he was chewing the gum, so I felt there was no need to bring him down.

I guess we all have little stories like this.

We recite them to ourselves as a way of smoothing out life’s little inconsistencies. They help us live the way we want; reinforce that we’re in control and we know what we’re doing (even if, in actual fact, we don’t).

But when the situation gets serious, these tales can be dangerous. Believing you’ll survive in the desert for three days on nothing but chewing gum is going to get you into some serious trouble.

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