Living your own story provides uncomplicated contentment.
I recently read the book All Marketers Tell Stories by Seth Godin. He does a wonderful job of telling stories to emphasize the usefulness of storytelling, I highly recommend it. For me, it also offered an even deeper meaning.
His basic premise is that we are all compilations of stories that we choose to believe and that these stories create the filter by which we see the world. The stories validate the world we want to see and we resist stories that do not validate our world view.
For instance, I know plenty of people that believe wearing Lululemon clothing makes them look slimmer and fitter. Does it really? Maybe. Or maybe the marketing stories and the stories of other Lululemon shoppers validate what they want to believe. Otherwise known as the placebo effect. I'm not discounting the clothing; if patrons wear it and feel more confident wearing it, then it's worth wearing! I'm simply providing an example of how we believe stories that validate our world view, which in this case is to look and feel a certain way.
This got me thinking about our stories. Yours and mine, not a company marketing to us or the stories of others. How often do we know our own story? How often are we living the story of someone else because we're hoping for a promised outcome or hoping to avoid a negative one?
For instance, I went to college because my dad told me I was going to college; it was his story that I lived up to. I may or may not have chosen it as part of my story but I adopted it as the story I would follow at that time. Twenty five years later when I chose to be an entrepreneur rather than work for an established business, he loudly protested because of his own need for stability. His story was security through being a part of a successful company and he wanted me to have the same story (security). This time, however, I chose my own story and continued down the path of AlohaCoach, which brought a mixed bag; relief to be doing what I love and tension because I'm not doing what he'd prefer.
My curiosity is; how often is our emotional dissonance caused by our discontent of living up to a story that belongs to another person, trend, business, or social norm, rather than our own?
Another example would be when someone says they want to lose weight because their partner says they should (it's their partner's story). Most every time someone tries to make a change because someone else says they should or because they fear a loss if they don't, it fails. Perhaps weight loss is desired, but when it's imposed or implied by someone else rather than being a part of our own story, we resist.
I can unequivocally say my experience is that we each have a difficult time defining our own story, as demonstrated when I ask for one and unlike our ability tell another's story. We can say what we don't want or like, and can name the things that society, marketers, family, and friends recommend we adopt for success, admiration, wealth, or beauty, which we often do, but those things don't offer us the uncomplicated contentment we're searching for.
I believe it takes searching for and living our own story. If we live our story and what we value, we'll find the self-contentment we crave.
What's your story?
Learner and sharer of all things healthy, active, esteem building, growth promoting, witty and Hawaiian