“If you aren’t telling a good story, nobody thinks you died too soon; they just think you died.” – Donald Miller
Once you know, you’ll never be the same. Last week I listened to Donald Miller’s “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” and have found myself thinking about it a few times a day.
The premise of the book is that two screenwriters are working with Donald to create a movie based on his memoir. When they suggest making small tweaks to the character (Donald) to make him more interesting, Donald begins to question his own life and what it means to really live.
Once they break down what makes a good story, the path to a leading a life that makes a great story is clear. But that doesn’t mean it’s an easy choice.
“Here’s the truth about telling stories with your life. It’s going to sound like a great idea, and you are going to get excited about it, and then when it comes time to do the work, you’re not going to want to do it. It’s like that with writing books, it’s like that with life. People love to have a lived a great story, but few people like to work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain.”
People crave comfort. A big misconception is that people yearn to be free. Freedom is often secondary to comfort and security. The very most primal urge we all have is to remain safe. It’s a great instinct, except when it isn’t. What used to save us from being trampled by a rhino, now keeps people locked in a mental cage.
“Before I realized we were supposed to fight fear, I thought of fear as a subtle suggestion in our subconscious designed to keep us safe, or more important, keep us from getting humiliated. And I guess it serves that purpose. But fear isn’t only a guide to keep us safe; it’s also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.”
What makes a good story?
“Robert McKee says humans naturally seek comfort and stability. Without an inciting incident that disrupts their comfort, they won’t enter into a story. They have to get fired from their job or be forced to sign up for a marathon. A ring has to be purchased. A home has to be sold. The character has to jump into the story, into the discomfort and the fear, otherwise the story will never happen.”
Of course the hardest part isn’t knowing, it’s living it. But once you know what makes a good story, it changes your perspective on life. You become slightly less “risk averse” and look for an opportunity to be transformed. Once you get a taste of it, you can’t go back…
“And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.”
Get “A Million Miles In A Thousand Years” by Donald Miller on Amazon.
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