If I wanted to get to know you, I would get you to tell me your story.
Rather, I’d ask you to tell me all the stories that make up your life.
Your life is, in essence, an accumulation of stories. There’s a story of childhood. A story about how you got your first broken bone. There’s a story about your first kiss.
There might even be a story about how much trouble you got into for making your brother laugh so hard at the breakfast table that milk sprayed from his nostrils.
Perhaps the reason storytellers are so revered is because they capture a tiny fragment of someone’s present, allowing it to become one of your moments as well. It’s another story in your life arsenal you get to tell.
That’s significant because when all is said and done, at the end of it all, there’s one thing that can’t be taken from us: our stories.
So if you haven’t thought about it yet, maybe now is the time to start thinking about racking up on stories to tell because one day, that may be all you have left.
I was doing an interview the other day and the interviewer asked me what my definition of wealth was.
This is something I’d already thought a lot about, but for some reason I articulated it different this time.
I told them that to me, wealth was have the room, the space, the freedom to have as many experiences as possible. It’s having the room to live and taste the world in my own time on my own terms.
In summary, wealth to me was having an abundance of stories to remember and maybe tell. Although the experience is gone immediately after it occurs, the memory of the experience lives on. And this memory is essentially my story of the experience.
So, why stories? Well, what else is there if not the sum of your experiences in this life?
Is there anything else that can’t be stolen, broken, sold?
What else is there if it’s not the memory of kissing your partner in the still waters of a Venice canal while on a gondola ride?
Is there anything that can compare to the witnessing of the birth of your child?
What better way to remember how far you’ve come than to have multiple experiences of failing?
For how long has story telling been used to teach and learn about everything in life?
Why stories? Because there’s nothing else more powerful, more permanent, more human, than your own story.
How Many Stories Do You Have To Tell?
That was the word running through my mind one summer night in college when I’d decided that regular mushrooms were no longer cutting it for me, so I’d replaced them with the magical kind.
Needless to say, I’ve never had such a memorable salad, but that’s neither here nor there.
So I was staring up at the massive sky while laying down on my back on the beach, and all I could think about was contrast.
Life was a series of contrasting events, just like vision was a picture of contrasting colors that we saw as definite lines making up a definite object.
Contrast is what brings you from one story of your life to the next.
If I ask you what you remembered about this day four years ago, you probably couldn’t tell me unless that day was somehow different from every other day in your life.
The reality is if you lived every day for a year the same, you would be able to sum up a year of your life with one story, because that would be all you could remember.
Even if everyday was a good day, you wouldn’t have an accumulated experience that summed up to 365 times the experience of a single day. It would be the same experience because nothing was different. Nothing changed.
You would have one single memory. One single story that could summarize an entire year of your existence.
Are you living like this unknowingly? It’s not wrong to want an uneventful life as long as you’ve chosen it. But if you’re here, I’m guessing you’re the kind of person who would rather create stories than have every moment of your existence blur into a single memory.
What changes can you make today to start a different story?