THAT phrase is often read or heard from inspirational speakers. The premise being, you have the power over your life and that if you do not like what is going there, you simply change your narrative, your story, your focus.

Many of us grow up with some other person's narrative pushing us on, most of the time, our parents. Our parents want us to be this or that. Or they want us to achieve what they have not. We are extensions, being their children. But most of the time, it's really because they love us and thus by default believe what is best for us.

Many parents have proven they are right and their children grow up to be successful and respected, through their direct intervention. But many others fail.

Bottomline: it's your life. What you make of it is all because of you. Should you fail because you just went on your rebellious ways against the will of your parents, that's because of you. You chose the path to be rebellious without any alternative. Should you fail because the path chosen for you is not just fit for you, it's still because of you. You can always choose another path once you are an adult, but you chose to live in blame.

Let's meet Gordon. I love Gordon. He's my idol. A son of a ship worker in a shipyard in the northeast coast of England, Gordon's father had always wanted him to become a ship worker as well.

He had other ideas after seeing the royal family pass by them in a Rolls Royce while he was still a schoolboy. He decided he wanted to be the one riding a Rolls Royce. He dreamed and dreamed big, and he worked on his art to back up that dream.

Thus, by 1977 Gordon Summer and his friends in a band sold more than 75-million albums to become one of the best-selling bands of all time. The band? The Police. Gordon? Sting. It wasn't all sunny for Sting. But he kept on, writing his own narrative of a successful band leader and songwriter through sunny days and pitching black ones.

In this world of social media, all of us become a storyteller. We can choose to be the one only tells the story of his or her outfit of the day and yes, that "I woke up this way" look. Sooner or later, you are going to be unfollowed by many friends. Who wants to see your face everyday, anyway? No one, just you.

You can choose to share other people's thoughts, but that's a lot of waste, right? I mean, of course, it's good to share something really eye-opening that's already available on the net or what you have stumbled on. But to do that everyday... there goes originality, there goes life. You have just wasted a very powerful medium, the same medium that Mocha Uson, Sass Sasot, and Thinking Pinoy have used to weave ribbons of confusion against their identified targets -- the oligarchs and their ilk.

"Life isn't about finding yourself," the great novelist George Bernard Shaw said. "Life is about creating yourself." And indeed it is.

Many a rebellious youth looking for purpose or a middle-aged person claiming to be having a mid-life crisis have spent days and weeks and even years, looking all over for whatever it is they find lacking, barely realizing that all this time, what they have been doing was really just waste time.

We do that often too, even though we are not trying to search for ourselves. How? Through social media. We wake up, pick up our mobile, check all notifications, answer some, wait for the reply of many, and look around for what you missed. Before you know it, the morning's over. Then you do it again for the afternoon. What's happening here? Simple. Many have given up their own narrative to eavesdrop on other people's. Again, a waste of time.

Last Friday, we were so caught up with the arrival of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, gawking and gaping for having the leader of a powerful nation waving at us, visiting our children, and talking to our businessmen. It was awesome, indeed. Right beside him is the most maligned by the opposition, the President of the Philippines.

To this day, the opposition is lobbing attacks against him, but he marches on unperturbed and in the process left everyone with their mouths wide open as he welcomed a Prime Minister of one of the most powerful and richest nation into his kitchen to eat mongo, puso ng saging, and biko. Prime Minister Abe ate this, too, we'd tell ourselves as we slurp on mongo and chew on puso ng saging and biko in our neighborhood carinderia.

What's going on here? The more observant are asking. It is all about a man, dictating the own narrative of his leadership, not Edgar Matobato's, not Senator Antonio Trillanes, not even Senator Leila de Lima.

"Leaders don't move mountains with mountains of data. They do it by giving their audiences a piece of their heart," thus wrote Carmine Gallo in the best-selling "The Storyteller's Secret" that I am now reading.

Now everyone will be trying to entice the powerful into their kitchen with mongo and biko in the same way that just about every politician sang and danced onstage to entice voters because someone else did it before them and the crowd roared in appreciation. The problem with a rehashed story, however, is that... it grows old.

saestremera@yahoo.com