How to control your narrative in life


Kevin Mangelschots

The best way to control your narrative is by:

  • Committing to your reputation.
  • Listening to the audience.
  • Telling stories of your strengths.
  • Starting all over when required.
  • Protecting the truth.

Here’s why.

  1. Commit to your reputation

    The word “reputation management” written in the middle with multiple reputation management techniques written around it.

    Controlling your narrative is probably accomplished the quickest by investing in your reputation. If people have a positive view of you, then you won’t have to defend yourself, nor will you have to change their assessment of you.

    If you commit a bit of effort daily into building your reputation, then you’ll find that you’ll get large results over time since these small positives will start to compound by creating a snowball effect.

    That’s what big companies, including marketing agencies, do as well. We’re constantly bombarded with advertisements in addition to favorable messages and images on social media in an attempt to create and maintain a positive image.

  2. Listen to the masses

    Our peers will give the much-needed information about whether you need to do something to change our reputation or not.

    Just because we think we’re doing well doesn’t mean that those around us think the same, and vice versa.

    But if you’re humble and open-minded enough to listen to valid critiques, then you will get all the knowledge required to change your behavior.

    Once your audience thinks highly of you, then the word-of-mouth advertising will spread quickly and start to do much of the hard work for you.

  3. Tell stories of your competence

    Illustration of a man reading to his son with the words “change the story” written on the cover of a book.

    Instead of telling stories about your weaknesses, or all the failures and mistakes you’ve made along the way, tell tales of your competency and abilities.

    It helps to convince your audience that you’re a strong and capable individual instead of looking weak by employing negative self-talk. Remember that once humans smell frailty, they’re going to viciously and unrelentingly attack since we’re predators at heart.

    We don’t like to think about ourselves as being predators. But ultimately, we’re still animals. As such, we’re guided by these same instincts. Whether we realize it, or not.

  4. Restart when necessary

    Sometimes it’s better to start over instead of continuing in a downward spiral. I’m not telling you to quit the moment the going gets tough. But what I am saying is that there are times when the pit is just too deep to get out of.

    If that’s the case, then it’s better to give up on the lost cause by starting over with a clean slate.

    That way, you’ll get a fresh start where you’re not disadvantaged from the very start. Picking your battles wisely is necessary to win the war.

  5. Protect the truth

    Image of a book with the words, “honesty is telling the truth regardless of the consequences” written on the cover.

    Protecting the truth is something that we should do for ourselves, but also for society as a whole. That’s why you should tell the truth, or at the very least not lie.

    We orient ourselves in the world based on facts. Once that goes astray, so will our ability to ground ourselves in reality.

    That would inevitably cause our society to crumble. And a peaceful, cooperative society is still advantageous for every resident. There would only be chaos and violence without this government to keep the citizens in check.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does “control the narrative” mean?

Controlling the narrative means handling the story that we shape around certain experiences and circumstances. These techniques can also be used to steer the way others think about us.

That’s typically accomplished by making sure that people are only talking about the things we want them to talk about, rather than letting them decide for themselves what to talk about.

What does “control your narrative” mean?

The words, “what is your story?” written with wooden letters next to a cup of coffee.

The key to controlling your narrative is to create your narrative. You want to moderate the way others think about you.

People will typically create their own opinions depending on the way they interpret the facts and events that have happened. But if you want to manage your own story, then you don’t want to leave it up to others to construe their personal view. Rather, you want to shape it as you see fit.

Furthermore, you can control your own story as well by living the way you want to, regardless of what others think about you, or your lifestyle.

What does owning your narrative mean?

You should own your narrative since you’re the creator of your tale, and because we’ve already established that you can direct your own story.

That means that life is yours, and yours only to live it the way you want to. You’re the hero of your own story, and this means that nobody but you gets to choose how to exist.

Why is it important to control your narrative?

The sentence, “how your story sets you free” written on a panel.

The importance of controlling the narrative is that control equals power.

When you can shape your tale, and how people think of you, then you can use that to manipulate your way to success, or even fame in some instances.

How to control the narrative with authenticity?

The quote, “authenticity isn't about being the real me, but being true to our purpose and values that drive us” written in black letters on a yellow background. By Tanveer Naseer

Just because you’re trying to control the narrative doesn’t mean you have to do so by manipulating others by lying or being deceitful.

You can employ these techniques to become a better storyteller and to craft your image truthfully. But you should always remain yourself, and tell the truth instead of trying to fool others for selfish desires.


Image of the word, “conclusions” written on a black backboard with white chalk.

You can create your narrative by taking ownership of your life, and by accepting that you’re the only one that’s in charge.

It’s a good thing to invest in your reputation. However, you shouldn’t try to be someone you’re not. Always try to stay true to yourself by living according to your values, and by staying on your purpose.