Have you heard the story about the ham?
Dave Ramsey tells it so that well that I won’t try to recreate it myself.
(you can find the original publishing of this story here)
It goes like this…
Zig Ziglar often tells the story of the time he won a prized country ham in a sales contest.
When he got home, he handed the beautiful ham to his wife, Jean. She immediately cut the end off the ham and placed it in a pan.
Zig asked his wife, “Why did you cut the end off my prized ham?”
“Well, that’s how you bake them,” Jean responded. “That’s how my mama cooked a ham.”
“Why did your mama do it that way?”
“I’m not sure,” Jean said. “Let’s call Mama and ask her.”
So Zig and Jean called Mama. “Well, my mama always did it that way,” she said.
So Zig and Jean called Granny.
“Granny,” Jean asked, “why do you always cut the end off the ham? Zig says I shouldn’t do it that way. Mom says she cut the ham because you always cut the ham. I did it because she did it. Nobody knows why we do this. So why did you cut the end off the ham?”
“Well,” Granny responded, “I don’t know why you two did it, but my pan was too short!”
Do you ever stop and question why you are doing the things you do?
I’m sure there are plenty of weird things that I do. So, for example, purposes I am going to use the first thing that comes to mind.
When I am watching TV at my parents house with my whole family, I almost always choose to lay on the floor.
It’s weird, I know. But, it’s something my dad always did when I was young. I would lay next to him. Sometimes climb on top of him. We’d wrestle around.
But, I always liked to lay next to him on the floor.
I’ve never really thought about that until now, but like the ham, it’s something that I inherited from my father that I just like to do.
Like the ham story, the roots may have come from his father.
Something like a ham or laying on the floor is simple an fun, and maybe it makes us unique.
But, sometimes these stories can have an impact on our lives.
Where we run situations through our filters, which stem from our life experiences.
Today someone cut me off it traffic. My instant reaction was, “you son of a…”
But, then I caught myself. What if this person was in an emergency. What if there was a good reason for this.
Is this story of someone is out to hurt me going to define my life and how I interpret experiences? Or can I choose to question the meaning behind everything I do?
When we start to look closer at what is behind the stories we’ve created, we can see the things that hold us back.
I see this a lot in social media. People jump to quick conclusions on what people type through a computer.
They interpret what someone says based on their understanding of the words used. It may be totally out of context of what the person meant. Then the person doing the interpretation has an emotional reaction based on how they interpreted the story.
One of my favorite books in the whole world, Aspire: Discovering Your Purpose Through the Power of Words, is truly fascinating about this topic. It’s about the authors real-life journey where he discovers the true meaning behind several very powerful words that have changed his life.
It’s amazing how stories can define our lives. And when we give up the stories that cause us to react or that limit us in our everyday lives, on how free and liberated we become.
I’m not talking about the kind of stories of you telling a friend about how you had a vacation of a lifetime.
(Although I would still question everything)
I’m talking about the stories that define how we show up in the world. The stories that limit us from our full potential.
The stories that someone doesn’t like us. The stories that we cannot have both love and happiness. The stories that success takes hard work.
There is no right or wrong to our stories.
We just get to choose every day if we want to accept them, or write a new one.