Once upon a time. There once lived. Happily ever after. The End. Amen.
We all grow up with stories, I just finished reading one to my 2 year old. Stories are a part of who we are regardless of our racial, cultural, national or ethnic background. The tradition of stories is actually probably one of the oldest traditions you will engage in besides eating with others.
Being that this is a practice as old as humanity itself, and this practice is embedded in your feeble human psyche and DNA- why not use it to your advantage?
Thinking like this lends itself to your advantage. You can’t be everything to everyone in your life story. And some things you do – well, they’re just going to be stupid. 🙂 Those times can actually be a great gift. In the times where you find yourself stuck in a weird place and asking yourself “Holy jeez! How did I get here? This sucks!”, you may actually be able to trace back what character traits – or lack thereof brought you to this odd little scene.
If your life was a story, at what point would you be in it? Is the story where you thought it would be? Or is your character in a really weird place for his/her demeanor, personality and strengths?
Where does the story end? Do you end up the good guy? Do you get your ‘wish’? Which characters are still with you on your journey?
Having the end in mind is very important. Some people have kind of an idea – but most don’t really think about it. For the times where things get tough, if the end you have in mind is what you really want – those tough times don’t seem quite as tough.
What about the moral of the story? This usually takes place after your story has ended (ie. You are dead), and some have a difficult time thinking about that.
However – consider this…the most influential story figures always, ALWAYS achieve more by being dead than they do by being alive. Mostly because they lived an awesome story, combined with the simple fact that you are dead WAY longer than you are alive…
A couple tips.
1. Don’t get complicated.
If you can, follow Lynard Skynards advice and ‘Be a simple kind of man’. To be honest, there haven’t really been any new stories for hundreds of years. They were all stolen by the ancients, the bible, and that cheeky Englishman Billy Shakespeare – the rest are just reruns with new characters and cooler cinematography.
If there is a story that you really like, there’s probably a reason. Your soul, the force, the tiny leprechauns that live under your bed have made it so that you’ll like that story. It might be beneficial to pick one of the stories you like instead of waiting for one that’s ‘really cool’.
2. Don’t freak out.
Don’t take it too seriously, because to be honest, it’s all bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very useful stuff because historically and psychologically we have stories embedded in our lives. Our stories are as old as our DNA – so it makes sense to go with the flow of your story instead of going against the grain. But don’t go all apeshit about being your character. You’re you – that’s the coolest part of your story.
3. Explore your ‘character’
The funnest part about this process are the surprises. The parts where you go “Holy bajeezus! How did I end up here?” These can be great wake up calls, and are time for reflection and analysis of you and your character. These times of reflection are most productive if they aren’t in post drunken violent rampage, or in jail.
4. Be yourself
Remember that your character is who he/she is. You are going to have shortcomings and insecurities – you’re a character – not God. For instance, my character is eventually the king in my story. Partially because I want to rule with dignity, grace and impart my knowledge and prosperity – but also because I want a massive castle and I think being a king would be straight up gangsta. Knowing your insecurities and shortcomings actually just makes you a stronger character – so don’t be afraid to explore them.