I loved university. It gave me, as a young man, a chance to see and connect with a totally new group of people who, like me, were just starting out in life. We all were open to new experiences without really understanding what it was that we were open to. The openness was intoxicating and it was confusing.
In fact, it was the start of our life stories. Sadly, not all of us were good story tellers. We latched onto the stories that we found on offer, hoping that they would fit our needs. We were limited in our capacity to invent our own stories. And worst of all, some of us found it more and more difficult to play the role of hero in their own life story. The veered off the road toward the cliff.
As I look back on this, I wish I had had more confidence in my own story telling skills. I wish I could have seen more clearly how people either were creating stories or not. And which of these stories taught me things of lasting value. But these this type of learning was not on the curriculum back then.
These days, we call it “life hacking”. Making your own life’s adventure. And you can get all kinds of advice on how this should be done. But at the core, life hacking is meant to stimulate our individual capacities to develop our own story lines. To create our own sense of meaning and well being in the context of who we are now — regardless of who that may be.
So you might take a moment to reflect on how skilled you are at identifying key story elements and applying them to your life. Harrison Monarth via HBR offers a nice primer. The key point comes out at the end — stories anchor our emotions onto a single dramatic tension.