The Hero’s Journey in Paris (5) By Peter de Kuster What’s Your Story? The Opera Garnier When I ask most people what’s their story, what they passionately pursue, they stammer, “Who, me?”. Yeah you. Do you have any passions? You do? You have concrete pursuits attached to them? Just give me one passion you have with a pursuit for this year. What’s your story? When I ask successful creative heroes to tell me one of their pursuits they will say something like “I will earn Euro 100.000 from my witing with another book deal by the end of the year”.
This pursuit is stated in the positive (I will), is very specific (Euro 100.000 from my writing) and includes a deadline (by the end of the year). Bravo! Having a specific pursuit, with a deadline is the key to success. You can make excuses or discount questing as being too rigid and linear for the creative person. Having specific, meaningful pursuits of passions doesn’t mean having a rigid story that leaves no room to roam. It simply means that, right now, this is what you want. Don’t worry about limiting yourself. You can adjust as you go. It does mean that you’re in control of your life, have thought about what the real issues are for you, and have a perspective on new possibilities that develop. Bottom line: Unless you know exactly what you want from your life and you can articulate it (on demand, in case we meet), you are just fooling around. You aren’t serious about success and, frankly, you’ll probably never achieve it.
Having a clear story about your pursuits empowers you. Having a clear picture of what you want drowns out the negatives and attracts the positive things, ideas, and people to help you reach them. A clear story creates focus and clarity, so you’re not wasting your energy on dead – end jobs. What Happens Without a Good Story? Many creative people have no idea who they are, what they want out of life, where they are going, or what their passion is. Afraid to limit their options, Their lives become a series of compromises and unplanned events. They are spinning out of control and feel powerless to stop it. They have zigzagged their way through life, trying this and that. As a phantom. Lack of Directions If you don’t know what you want, you can waste a lot of time and energy going in the wrong direction. In the meantime, your career and personal life can get way off course.
Forced Compromise You wake up one day and realize your life has been a series of compromises, a series of unplanned events. As a result, you’re in a job you really don’t like or aren’t suited for, afraid to change. Untapped Talent Without story, you can easily get caught up in the current of life, swept away by an endless stream of details. You always seem to be paddling
against the current in a battle between finding time to be creative and getting things done. Once you get off course, it can be very hard to find your way back. Boredom Not having a powerful story in life, a passion, a purpose for your talents and creativity is the one thing most lacking in many lives. Without it life can become dull, empty, and uninspiring. Powerless/ Cynicism I have heard people describe their lives as if they were passengers in a car, watching life fly by while looking out of the window. They feel powerless, and blame everyone and everything for their lack of success, time, happiness, finances, whatever. They blame the government, the economy, reviewers, traffic, competition, and on and on. Until you take responsibility for your own success, happiness and time, you remain a victim.
Value Conflict When your values and your achievements don’t align, at best you end up with hollow victories. At worst, you become depressed, angry or resentful. If you value integrity, you can’t afford to lie and cheat to get what you want. If you say you want to start a business, but you squander your start – up capital, it might be time to look at your values again. Maybe you’re just giving lip service to a value you thought you should have. Or maybe your self – destructive behavior has deeper roots.
Regret Figaro Do you go zigzagging through life, jumping at any opportunity, that sounds interesting or fun? After years of doing this, you’re likely to realize that you have nothing to show for the past decade. This will leave you unhappy, unfulfilled, unsuccessful – because you tried to live without goals.
With a good story… With a good story, you get a bird’s – eye view of your life. An overview. Think of being in a balloon over Paris, soaring over the scenery, looking down. Everything seems so small, so clear. You get above the trivial details, about the self doubt. This kind of perspective allows you to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason in the right way. Synchronicity When you tell yourself a powerful story and pick a course of action, unexpected things start to go your way. Unseen forces in the universe begin to say ‘Yes!! People and resources come into your life to help. Or you see them sharply now. It all starts with a clear story about what you want, your goals, your quest, one that you can understand and that you can communicate to others. This works better if you have a real passion for your story. People pick up on your passion, your commitment. They want to contribute, to be part of your story, your excitement, so they offer money, time, connections.
Your story works for you When you have a great story, your mind goes about searching for information and opportunities that can help. You will see your story reflected in the world outside. Why haven’t you noticed this before now? Your brain, to avoid overload, screens out information which is essential to your survival and success. When you know what your story is, your mind works to incorporate that into what it lets into your consciousness. This can change your life very quickly. You may get lightning ideas, seemingly out of the blue. In reality, the brain is processing all kinds of input from the outside, mixing it with your goals or purpose and … eureka! You’re more happy Your stories allow you to really live. You can enjoy the now, and still look to the future. People who are living their dreams wake up in the morning excited, full of anticipation. Don’t you want to live like that? You can’t wait to start the day, you’re constantly stimulated, curious, eager to interact with others, passionate about what you are doing, and you’re working toward real fullfilment.
Your ability to have fun and enjoy life is tied into the stories you tell yourself and then others. When you know what you want, what you value, what makes you happy, it’s easier to make decisions which reduce stress. The directionless life is not the happiest to look back on. Motivation We all need a great story that moves us, that we enjoy doing, and that we are good at. We need to feel useful. We need to help ohters or belong to a cause larger than ourselves. We know we could help make this a better world, if only on a small scale. In this world of rapid change, people have a deep need to control their own fate. Great stories to tell yourself about yourself are how to do it.