“If you’re going to have a story, have a big story, or none at all.” — Joseph Campbell
Usually, anything heard on mainstream radio isn’t worth listening to, but today they posed a thought-provoking question I liked.
It was this, and I’m paraphrasing here:
If you picked up a book and discovered it was your biography from birth to death. Knowing that you can’t rewrite the narrative, would you read past your current point in life?
That’s a great question! And when put to the public, the general response was “no,” people didn’t want to read how their lives played out.
But for me, perhaps oddly enough I’d happily read it.
What is it that’s gotten me to this point?
What do I think is essential to living out a life you’d happily read about?
These are the questions I will answer in this article and provide you with a guide you can shape to write your own personal bestseller.
Here we go.
Be the Author of Your Life, Not the Victim of it
“When life happens, you can be either the author of your life or the victim of it. Those are your only two choices — accountable or unaccountable. This may sound harsh, but it’s true. Every day we choose one approach or the other, and the consequences follow us forever.” -Gary Keller
The truth is, most people are not choosing to be the author of their life.
Rather, life is just happening to them. Their daily choices — both consciously and unconsciously, have them acting as a mere character in a story with no idea as to how it will unfold.
As Darren Hardy wrote in his book, The Compound Effect,
“Most people drift through life without devoting much conscious energy to figuring out specifically what they want and what they need to do to take themselves there.”
This is why most people do not want to read the story of their life. Without any real direction behind their daily activities, every new page beyond their current point would simply be a complete and utter shock to them.
In short, it probably wouldn’t make for very good reading.
Getting away from this starts by asking 3 simple questions:
- Where am I now?
- Where do I want to be?
- How am I getting there?
Once you know where you’re going and how you’re getting there, you’ll be bringing a purpose to your everyday actions, you’ll be heading where you want to go, and you’ll have more certainty in your future.
Live a Life of No Regrets
“A life worth living might be measured in many ways, but the ONE way that stands above all others is living a life of no regrets” -Gary Keller
A while ago I spoke to a friend of mine who was on the fence about taking a year off Med school to travel the world. I gave him one piece of advice,
“Whatever decision you make, ensure that it’s one you can live with for the rest of your life.”
When I spoke to him again, he told me he’d taken the leap and was going to do it. I asked what pushed him over the edge:
“If not now, when?” he said, “I’m not going to be young forever, I can’t put a guarantee on the future. If I don’t do it now, I might never do it and I couldn’t live with that regret.”
To me, that’s a great reason to do anything. I’ve said in the past, “A good decision is one that leaves you saying, “I’m glad I did,” not “I wish I had.”
But too often, people don’t live with this mindset. People would rather do what’s easy, or feels good in the moment, even sometimes they’ll do something because it’s what other people expect of them.
But these are all terrible reasons to do something and will likely lead to regret later on down the line.
A lot of the pages will be read asking, “what if?” “Why didn’t I take a chance?” “Why did I make that decision?”
Keep the end in mind. Make the present count for a well-lived future.
Establish Habits that Take You Where You Want to Go
“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” -F. Matthias Alexander
A sure-fire way to write the pages how you want and achieve your ambitions is to build habits around what’s important to the core areas of your life.
Why? Habits take out most of the work.
If you regularly do something until it becomes a habit (And the science says it takes an average of 66 days to acquire a new habit). The payoff from developing that habit is great.
- It keeps you on track of where you’re going.
- It simplifies your life.
As David Kadavy has said,
“When you build a habit, you don’t have to waste mental energy deciding what to do.”
Lock in habits so they become part of your life and you can basically ride your routines to where you want to go.
Don’t worry about writing your life story for anyone else; make it a book you’re proud to read.
Be the author of your story, not the victim of it. Deliberately do the things that take you where you want to go; don’t just let life happen to you.
Write your life in a way that leaves you with no regrets. Do the things that make you say, “I’m glad I did,” not “I wish I had.”
Finally, establish habits that align with the plot you desire. You are what you do repeatably.
Now, lets go make our lives worth reading about it!