Several months ago, Seth Godin asked this question in his blog: Did you wake up this morning with a feeling of newness, viewing your life as a white piece of paper, a blank slate, excited about the opportunities to create something new, or become someone different than you were yesterday? Or is today just another day of living out the story you’ve been telling yourself about yourself for years?
He called it ‘extending the narrative.’ We all have a narrative … a story … that we tell ourselves about ourselves. Most days are simply extensions of living out this narrative. We buy certain things because those are the things that people like us buy. We relate to people in a certain way because that’s the way people like us relate.
A man buys a truck that guzzles gas, not because he needs it, nor because its practical, but because its what he feels a guy like him drives. It is a continuation of a story he has been trying to tell himself.
A 22-year-old guy jumps from relationship to relationship with women, unable to commit to any sort of long term relationship because he still views himself as a teenager who is dating around for fun. He is extending a narrative about himself.
A woman buys designer brand makeup, not because it works any better than the cheap stuff, but because that’s what women like her wear.
A simple question for today… is the trajectory of your life simply the extension of a story you’ve been believing about yourself, or have you chosen it for valid reasons? Are you doing what you’re doing because of a narrative you’ve come to believe, or are you doing it because it actually reflects what you desire?
The world is harsh, and will conspire against you when you try to take risks. Its often painful to depart from our narratives, because they are so comfortable to us. But each small risk you take is a step towards a better story that’s worth telling, and a better life that’s worth living.