I just read a great book – a book that I have heard about but never picked up until friends in Australia gave it to me while I was there – A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller.
They told me that it was because of this book that they were getting married and going to England for a year of training right after their honeymoon. Wow, that’s a big effect from a book. Once I got back home, Leigh and I wrestled over the book for 3 days to try to finish it first.
The subtitle is, What I Learned While Editing My Life. This, to me, is the real title. It’s about what makes a great story…with your life. Here are a few excerpts.
“I found myself wanting even better stories. And that’s the thing you’ll realize when you organize your life into the structure of story. You’ll get a taste for one story and then want another, and then another, and the stories will build until you’re living a kind of epic of risk and reward, and the whole think will be molding you into the actual character whose roles you’ve been playing. And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.”
I think this describes the discontent we all feel with routine, ordinary, traditional life and the desire we have for more.
“A story is made up of turns, Robert McKee says. Once an ambition has been decided, a positive turn is an event that moves the protagonist closer to the ambition, and a negative turn move the protagonist away from his ambition. All stories have both. If a story doesn’t have negative turns, it’s not an interesting story. A protagonist who understands this idea lives a better story. He doesn’t give up when he encounters a setback, because he knows that every story has both positive and negative turns.”
Our reaction to circumstances will change as we desire to live a “good story” and understand that “negative turns” make your story even better.
“It’s true that while ambition creates fear, it also creates the story. But it’s a good trade, because as soon as you point toward a horizon, life no longer feels meaningless. And suddenly there is risk in your story and a question about whether you’ll make it. You have a reason to get out of bed in the morning.”
Finding and pursuing our true ambition, our greatest desire will make our life a “great story”.
Let’s live a great story together…starting this summer.