Whats your story?

whatsyourstory?In a series of workshops that we were recently busy with, we posed the question “What makes a story great or epic?” Many delegates described the type of stories they love with words like: courageous, determination, overcoming overwhelming odds, exciting, light-hearted, complex, action-filled and so forth.

We read an excerpt from Don Miller’s book “A million miles in a thousand years: What I learned while editing my life”.

He says: “If you watched a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn’t cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers. You wouldn’t tell your friends you saw a beautiful movie or go home and put a record on to think about the story you’d seen. The truth is, you wouldn’t remember that movie a week later, except you’d feel robbed and want your money back. Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo.”

The above rang true for many of the delegates. Yet what we realized is that sometimes we can spend years living these types of stories and still expect to live meaningful lives.

In essence, if the choices you make in living your own story do not really make it a meaningful story then there is a chance that it will not lead to a meaningful life either.

So what keeps us from living a meaningful story?

Although there were many reasons that stood out, there was one that seemed to be particularly common amongst delegates. Many perceived themselves as “unworthy” of living a great or meaningful story. One delegate actually commented that great and meaningful stories are only reserved for certain chosen people.

Do you sometimes feel that way? That the story of your life could never be great or meaningful?

As long as we perceive ourselves in that way we will always behave or act out what we believe. Psychologists tell us that we cannot consistently behave in ways that are inconsistent with the way we perceive ourselves.

This means that if we are to make changes, it needs to start with our perception of ourselves. Change whatever perception you have of yourself that is not compatible with living a great story and your actions will follow.

“Here’s a new way to think about your story: Your life is a blank page. YOU write on it!” – Don Miller

Author: Célia Senekal