All through man’s existence we have been looking over our shoulder. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. We worried about whether we would be able to find food or maybe a place to get out of the rain. Maybe it was a dry season and there is little water. Then don’t even get me started about the saber tooth tigers and cave bears and other things that would like to use us for a filler till they found a downed mammoth. Our early life was hard, and because of that, we have developed a heightened sense of things that could go wrong.
These days thanks to all the advancements we have had. We now have the ability to build nice relative posh homes with every possible luxury we can afford. Yet still, we worry about what is going to go wrong. We are a species of worrywarts.
Yet there are some great features of the modern man that our ancestors never had. We have a better way of understanding why and how we think. We can actually process our thoughts and not just react to perceived dangers. We can also change how we perceive different threats.
We look at a possible problem and we fear that it is too big of a mountain to climb though that mountain may only be a hill in other people’s eyes. We actually change the size of those mountains and turn mountains into valleys. We can see the sun in every drop of rain. You do this by flipping the script.
What is flipping the script?
Flipping the script is a lot like how Neo can manipulate the Matrix. When you can change the outcome of a scenario with just the power of your mind. Now I am now saying you can stop a hail of bullets or defy death, but you can change the perspective that you see the world in and that is as much as bending a spoon with your mind.
Now, what do I mean by flipping the script? Well, some people say looking on the bright side but in reality that is more. It’s not only looking on the bright side but taking the victim out of the equation and looking through the lens of compassion. Looking at things from the other side.
Changing how you are approaching a particular problem or situation instead of just going at it from face value can help you not fly off the handle or even take offense to a remark. If you flip your script it actually can make you more resilient and resistant to miss understandings.
What is a script?
A script is a story you tell yourself about a particular event. Someone bumps into you as you walk by you may want to yell out “what’s your problem?” You may say to yourself or to your friends this dude is being inconsiderate.
Maybe you see someone looking at you weird from across the room, maybe in a judgmental way. The story you are telling yourself is that script.
Why would you want to flip your script?
A script is everything you perceive to be happening without all the details. Your script is yours. These are the thoughts and emotions that you are having about a particular circumstance. This script is what you impose upon another person. Your script if you let it go unedited can lead to problems, misunderstandings, lost connections, broken friendships, or worse broken marriages, or alienated kids.
Your scripts have to be edited. We all have those crappy first drafts, and sadly many times we just run with those crappy first drafts. So you want to edit those scripts often. The more you edit your scripts you have for people the more you have more understanding.
Flipping your script allows you to open yourself up to get to know people better. It can help you to have compassion for some or slow to anger if you come across those who are just being total butts.
Examples of Flipping a script
You can encounter many scenarios that cause you to write a script right off the bat.
You are driving down the road and some bozo comes whipping through traffic and gets right in front of you and slams on his breaks. Cutting you off and causing you to almost hit his tail end that is not sticking out in your lane because he is trying to take an exit.
Now you could be calling in a jerk or even worse. You could be talking about all the ways he could have gotten you killed or the fact that he doesn’t care about the fact that your car is only 3 weeks old. No, he is just an ass that is focused only on himself.
Yet you can flip this script by rewriting why he did what he did. He may be on the phone with his pregnant wife and she is going into labor, or worse maybe their child was involved in an accident and is being taken to the hospital. When you look at his actions in that light suddenly you can give him a little grace. Maybe he is just an ass but you can feel love for him instead of anger.
The Office Grump
Maybe you have a grumpy man in your organization. He comes in and doesn’t smile, he is critical of every good idea you have. You try to joke with him and still, nothing. This dude is just a bitter old fart who can’t get along with anyone. He is combative on every front.
Maybe this grumpy dude is under the pressure of helping his wife who is suffering from dementia. He doesn’t get any sleep because his wife gets up in the middle of the night and tries to leave their house. She has done it twice in the same number of months. He is anguished over the knowledge that he is losing his sweetheart of 48 years. She is slowly forgetting him. Many times she calls him by a different name. He sees the medical bills as suffocating and he doesn’t see any way out.
You may ask why doesn’t he let someone know? Well, he is of the stock that you don’t trouble people with your personal problems. His old office buddy that knew him to have a sharp wit died when a drunk driver hit his car.
See there are times that we simply don’t have all the key pieces of information. We write our own script, but if we flip it we can find compassion for someone who may just be a grump.
One of the biggest examples I have of one of my own scripts running my life was a script I would have after an argument with my wife. Tell me if you have even done this. Have you ever had mental arguments with your wife? Maybe it was a replay of a fight you had about money, except you just let her have it. You tell her in minute detail all the flaws she has with how the money is managed. You top every counter-argument she has with pure exacting logic. You show her what’s right.
Do you even have that? Is that only me? I doubt it. Yet I had time in my marriage when I was doing that all the time. I thought that script was just in my head, and it was. Yet, the emotions of frustration and cynicism superiority were leaking out and it was interfering with my relationship with my wife. That is until I let her win in a mental argument. I just said your right. Let’s find a solution.
The fix wasn’t instant. I had many deeply embedded mindsets that I had to tackle but the boil was lanced, and the attitude changed.
What Flipping the script isn’t.
Now you may be thinking that flipping the script is meant for us to be passive. No There are times that we do have all the information we need to take action. It is a means for us to open up and be more accepting. The saying that hurt people hurt people is true and you can be the bigger person by coming to an understanding instead of jumping to a conclusion.
To flip a script doesn’t make you weak or a passivist. In fact, it does the opposite and helps you to become a better leader. You can understand better why your son is in a mood. Maybe his girlfriend of 6 months just broke up with him. You can open yourself up to help him by changing your script and listening to more of the story than what you just wrote.