Everyone I know wants to live a great story. Some want an adventurous life; filled with memorable experiences. Others want a life filled with love and meaningful connections. We want our lives to matter. We want to make an impact with our life. We want to live in a way that our grandkids will tell their grandkids about us.
And yet, if I’m being honest, I rarely consider the story of my life. Some days are totally consumed with work. Others are spent looking forward to a vacation or enjoying time with friends. Most days, I’m just trying to make it through the day.
If we all want to live a great story, why is it that the idea of that kind of life seems more like a fantasy? And more importantly, is there anything we can do to change it?
To Live a Great Story, See Your Life as One
In order to live a great story, we must recognize the story of our life. We must see life as a story rather than a series of random incidents. All of us are on a journey through life. We all face certain challenges and trials. When we recognize our lives as a story, we can start to lean into it more intentionally and embrace every trial through a different lens.
In order to live a great story, we could learn a few things from our favorite stories. Here are a few ways seeing our lives as a story propels us towards living a better story:
- We must always be willing to embrace the journey. In great movies or novels, the main character never knows how the story will end. And yet, he or she always moves into the unknown in order to reach the destination. In the same way, viewing our lives as a story pushes us to step into the chaos, embrace it and live the journey well.
- We can’t live a great story alone. Every protagonist has a mentor to guide them or a friend to come alongside them at a particular point in time. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, the mentor always appears when the student is ready and willing to embrace the challenge. Like Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings, we all need friends who are willing to walk alongside us through the greatest challenges of life. Why would we think our stories would be any different?
- We should recognize the difficult moments in life are where the story gets good. We are all on the edge of our seats when Indiana Jones is running for his life in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but do you really think the character was embracing the epic reality at that moment? No. He had no idea what was going to happen next. But what about the difficult moments in our life? What about the seasons when we face unknown situations? Many of us just want to move past it and move on. Recognizing challenges as the moment “our stories get good” helps us step into them with confidence and creativity.
While we might not find the cure for a modern disease or overcome insurmountable odds to accomplish an extraordinary feat, we all have the opportunity to live a great story in our own way. And it starts by learning to embrace everything that happens in our lives as part of it.