How Your Flat-Tire Stories Change Your Life
Stories have power to change your life for the simple reason that stories are about life changes.
What makes a story a story? The one-word answer is “change.” Something changes and someone has to respond to the change.
Stories About How You Had To Change Your Life
Stories are about some sort of event that jolts you out of ordinary experience and forces you to do something different.
If you get up in the morning, eat breakfast, go to work, and do exactly what you did the day before, you don’t have to think differently or do anything you haven’t done before. You end the day the way you began. You are unchanged. You have no story to tell.
But if you get up in the morning, eat breakfast, and go to work, and on the way to work, your car gets a flat tire, something has changed in your normal routine.
Now you have a story to tell. “Because this happened, something else happened and then something else happened.”
The flat tire initiated a stream of events, all connected to the original event: your car got a flat tire.
How Did The Flat Tire Change You?
But from the perspective of a story, the most important part of the story is not the event that caused this cascading stream of other events. The most important part of the story is what you did in response to the event.
Did you change the tire? Did you call for help? Did you wait helplessly by the side of the road? Did you get grease on your new clothes? Did you have a temper tantrum?
Whatever happened, the real life changing story is not what happened, but how you responded to what happened. You had to react in some way to this event and your reaction changed you in some way.
The Essence Of Story
The experience of change in response to unexpected events is also the essence of life itself. Life is full of unexpected events that force us to respond in some way.
This is the essence of a story. Something happens and someone changes because of what happened.
This definition of story also means that stories are not simply observations or recitations of occurrences.
I had a friend once who would say things like: “Today I saw Mrs. Hanson walking down the street.”
I would wait for a story to follow this statement only to realize after a moment or two that there was nothing else. My friend was simply making a statement that she saw someone walking down the street. Nothing happened to change either Mrs. Hanson or my friend. There was no story.
Your Life Story Is Created By Flat Tires
The truth is, life is a series of “flat tire” events—occurrences you didn’t expect that require you to respond in some way. Some “flat tire” events are minor annoyances. Some are catastrophes. Some are actually wonderful opportunities. Some are painful experiences.
The story of your life—the story you tell yourself and others about your life—is made up of your responses to your unexpected flat-tire events.
For Your Success,
Dr. Kalinda Rose Stevenson
“The Story Transformer”
Creator of “The Story Transformation Process”
This is the first post in a 5-Part series.