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This Ain’t the Same Old Story Your Grampa Used to Tell… Well, Sorta

The same few stores have been told since the beginning of time. 

Protagonist wants romantic love.
Protagonist is on a “coming of age” journey.
Protagonist wants redemption. 
Protagonist wants justice. 
Protagonist wants to right a wrong. 

So, why do we still fall in love with the “same old story” or the seventh installment of a tired soap opera series set in outer space? Because of nostalgia, because we relate, because of the relationships, because of the variables that happen along the journey. 

You think you have nothing to say or nothing to teach or your story has nothing of value? You’re wrong. There are so many variables in your story that will bring to light an interesting and unique cast of characters and obstacles that only you know how to overcome. It’s practically inevitable that there will be some incredible teaching moments and inspiration derived from your story. 

No more holding back. We have lots to learn from you. 

Taking Back Your Power by Changing the Narrative

One of the best ways to take back power or to learn to wield the power within, is to tell your story before someone else does. Don’t let them define you. Tell the narrative you want others to notice. What story do want your actions to tell? Your speech? Your thought-life (which, will then manifest action)? Your clothing? Your expenditures? Your choice of friends, advisors, and confidents?

What is the through line (“story-arc” or even “thesis” if you will) that connects each of these components of your life? What does the whole story look like, so far? If you don’t like it, or pieces of it” then you, the storyteller, get to change course, to put the protagonist (you) back on the course you’ve always envisioned. And if you’re stuck in your “writing,” don’t beat yourself up. All storytellers get writer’s block—and all the good ones pick up the quill on a consistent basis whether or not they feel the writing is going well. Keep working. Keep writing. Keep up the hustle. 

The Trouble with ‘Little White Lies’ and ‘No One is Gonna Know’

“All that is necessary for bad things to happen in this world is for good people to do nothing…” is a quote I gave to some middle schoolers last week during an anti-bullying presentation (I may have ripped off Edmund Burke with that quote… shhh). 

Most people don’t intentionally let bad things happen, at least not the big ones—an assault, cheating, or taking a life.

My beef is with “sins of omission,” or things that may be on the fringes of “evil,” or selfishness or convenience. Things like: 
  • Intentionally buying a diamond from a known dealer in blood diamonds/diamonds that have caused war or exploited indigenous or local populations 
  • Pushing past the elderly, pregnant, or disabled while exiting an airplane (I’m on flights nearly 100 times a year and I’ve seen it happen all too often)
  • Stiffing the delivery guy or undertipping the waiter 
  • Using copious amounts of plastic bags when paper is available (there are heaps of floating bits of plastic in the Pacific Ocean and several others)
  • Littering or defacing public or private property 
I know some of those things are inconvenient. Life gets in the way. You’ve got to take your kid to a recital, you want to save money, the cat has to go to the vet again, the newest season of Better Call Saul just came out on Netflix (#bingewatch). I’m right there with you. I get it.  

That one seemingly tiny action that you take outside of your creature comforts—taking a shorter shower, or helping the old lady across the street when you’re in a hurry—it may seem minuscule. But when millions and billions of “minuscule” actions are added up, the results can save lives, offer hope, move mountains, and even change the world and the course of humankind. 

We’re all in this together as a species and as creatures who, at their very base, want very similar things.

They’re not Listening, They Don’t Care, They Aren’t Concerned with what I Want

If you’re not getting what you want from a friend, a colleague, a partner; then change the way you ask. 

If you change the way you ask, reframing what you want with respect to the idea that the other person gets something out of the deal as well, you may come closer to finding a solution to your needs.

If you’re still not getting what you want (after numerous yeoman-like attempts), it may be time to move on. Moving on isn’t always a sign of weakness, it’s about setting boundaries and making sure your needs are met. You may be able to find what you need elsewhere. 

You only live once. You might as well do it while learning about yourself, others, who is in your corner, who isn’t, and how to maximize your experience while on this planet.