“Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.” -Moby Dick
This is quite possibly one of the most recognizable opening lines in classic literature. But what makes this story and so many others so recognizable? What makes an interesting story?
To begin with, it would be helpful to discuss the idea of story itself. Generally, a great story will cover five basic (leaving all complexity aside) elements: Introduction/Beginning; Rising Action/Conflict; Climax; Falling Action; and finally Resolution/End. This is a general rule and has much flexibility to it, but if you pay attention to a good story, on some level, it will follow this template.
We each have our own story, as well as being part of a larger story involving others, but some people feel their story is not as exciting/interesting/creative as those around them. Those individuals therefore try to live vicariously through someone else’s story.
Maybe we fail to see our own story as interesting because we so often neglect to ask why. Why am I doing this? What is the point?
If story is revolving around an axis with some sort of climax, there must be an answer to the why question. Failing to know why we are living the story we are results in feeling like our lives are mundane and boring.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
I have chosen to work in a field where I get to tell people’s stories; stories that make each of us unique and interesting (even if we don’t think our own story is that interesting). I have found that when we think about the ‘why’ question and can answer it, we usually find our story is not as boring and mundane as we might have thought. I get the privilege, like so many others, to challenge people to ask that question and see their story as interesting and dynamic.
Your story is as interesting as you want to make it. I don’t mean live someone else’s story as your own; rather, embrace the story you are in. See the creativity staring right at you, embrace the opportunities that are there and live an adventurous life wherever you are. I love the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and I think they have done a great job of capturing this idea of embracing the adventure that is right in front of you. It isn’t that you must travel to some exotic location in the world or do some amazing thing that no one else has ever done. It is that you live each moment to its fullest and live the story God has given you to live.
So I ask you, what story are you living out?