founder of naked leader

No event has any meaning, other than…

No event has any meaning, other than…

Time to Read: 4 Mins – Meaning however long it takes for you!
No event has any meaning, other than…

The Meaning that you choose to give it.

Last week I wrote about The Gap

The Gap in which your mind decides what just happened, what it means and how you should react.

Our brains want to reply quickly, it relies on these three resources – knowledge, experience and imagination – to give this event a meaning. And one of these far, far more than the others:


And not just imagination of what this event means from past experiences, also from future ones that haven’t happened yet, including what will happen next.

And due to that part of our brain that many psychologists call our dinosaur brain – which keeps us safe from harm – we have a natural (and it is nature) bent to see what might be negative, harmful, pain in what has just happened, and so we conclude the meaning of the event in exactly the same way and react accordingly.

And here’s the thing- no event has any meaning other than what we choose to give it!

So it doesn’t matter what anyone’s intentions may or may not have been. As far as we’re concerned the best meaning is the one that gives us the best outcome for the path we wish to travel.

So, for example, when someone gives me negative feedback is it more helpful to think

‘You are undermining me and saying I’m no good at this’ and respond with ‘you’re a complete idiot, and just exactly what makes you think you know better?’ And feel annoyed or

‘this is helpful information that some people might react this way and I can change to accommodate this’. And respond with a ‘thank you, I’ll bear that in mind’ and feel calm and improve yourself.

There are other times when we read the wrong and most unhelpful meaning into something   here’s an example that really happened to me.

I was once emailed by a Client CEO before an event that included the line “I understand from people that you have a lot to learn David”

After several months of analysing what he meant – and worry, the event arrived and we met.

As casually as I could I said “eh, you said in your email that I have a lot to learn, I just wondered what you meant by that?”

To which he replied “Well you have David…” (at this point I nearly hit him)”…I understand you are doing your whole presentation without any notes – that is quite a skill” (at this point I almost kissed him).

And all of that leads us to the single most important truth that will turn that vicious circle into a victorious circle – as you take back total control of events – your relationships, your future, your life:

No event has any meaning, other than the meaning that you choose to give it

Any event, every event – perhaps even life

With my love and best wishes

Please add your comments below.


10 Responses to No event has any meaning, other than…

  1. Since the ‘Mind the Gap’ blog last week, I have been much more conscious of my reactions to things, and if I have reacted quickly thinking if it would of been different using the gap better and what the effect would of been.

  2. Same here, i concurw ith jackie’s thoughts.
    Best to let things sink in before acting on impluse, especially when responding to an email.

  3. …and if you really take your time you get to spell things correctly and make less mistakes.

  4. Thank you
    Sharing comment received on LinkedIn..
    A caveat based on your own observation. The time it takes to sink in is important. Immediate feedback from events can be misleading. In other walks of life think about this. Initial reaction to the “Rite of Spring” – a riot. Now – a masterpiece and transformative in history of music.
    On a personal level, back in the 90s I was heckled at a conference by a Head Teacher who basically said I was Satan and that people like me were responsible for him taking early retirement.
    Around 6 months later I got a letter from him apologizing for his outburst. He had withdrawn his early retirement and wanted to make ” my vision” happen for his kids.
    It taught me that getting everyone to like you in an event or give positive immediate effect doesn’t always help in the longer term. So my caveat is today’s meaning or tomorrows meaning?
    By Chris Y

  5. I responded to an email immediately once and completely misread what it had actually said in the first place. I gave it a meaning it didn’t deserve when i should have taken a step back, read it properly, and dealt with the situation a whole lot better in consequence.

  6. Reacting positively to things is not always easy in the spur of the moment, it really depends on the ‘happening’.
    i try to have a positive outlook on most things but can be difficult at times.

  7. Amazing how a bad experience with an email can make you really, really make sure you think about a response in future.
    Sometimes they can be so impersonal.

Leave a reply