Irene C. Kassorla
“A human being is nothing but a story with skin around it.”
“The pen is mightier than the sword.”
Seize the pen.
It’s time to get real. It’s time to write a new story for your life. This story will be something that generations of people will read and be inspired by. This story will be bold, strong, and meaningful. This is your story.
Writing an empowering story that you can start living out today involves three steps. First, you will identify the stories and words that inspire you. This is where you will tap into your deepest desires by making a list of the movies, books, quotes, words, and people that currently inspire you. In other words, you are going to write down all of the positive storylines and characters that you identify with. You will consolidate all of these forms of inspiration into a handful of words and phrases that powerfully influence your motivation. Second, you will write out the plot, or backbone, of your new story. This is where you will transform your biggest goals, and your new purpose in life, into a story that you can start living out immediately. You will change the words of your current story and replace them with the words of your new story. Third, you will emotionalize your new story by lacing in the words and phrases from the first step. These emotional ties will add hooks to your new story, which will help activate more of your brain every time you read it. In this way, your new story will become a part of you; it will generate influence over every one of your thoughts and actions. If you take this process seriously, and refuse to skip any steps, you will quickly start living out the life of your dreams.
Before you begin, find a place where you can be completely alone. You need to be alone so you are not influenced by any feelings of guilt, insecurity, or embarrassment. Understand: other people’s expectations can limit you mentally, even from a distance. Next, put yourself in a positive state. If you’re in a bad mood, get over it by going for a walk, working out, or listening to music. You must be in an open, positive mood before you begin. The following three steps will help you write a new, empowering story for your life. These steps are adapted from a longer article I wrote last year about finding your purpose of living.
Identify Stories That Inspire You
Once you are alone and in a good mood, start reflecting on the times in your life when you felt the most inspired. When did you feel maximally empowered? What were you watching, reading, or doing? Was it a certain movie or part of a movie, a particular book or an excerpt from a book, an article, a painting, a picture, a quote, a website, a sermon, a speech, a performance, an activity, or a conversation? From memory, create a giant list of all the things that helped you increase happiness and improve self-confidence in the past. Don’t Google anything and don’t worry about your spelling. Here is the list I made in 2010 when I was trying to change my story from Isaiah the struggling Graduate student to Isaiah the successful writer, speaker, and entrepreneur:
Next, study and consolidate your list. What do all of the things on your list have in common? What words or short phrases could you use to describe them? Use emotionally charged words to bring these storylines and sources of inspiration together in your mind. Identify at least a dozen words and short phrases that make you come alive. Do not settle for lukewarm words. Choose words that trigger an intensely positive emotional response; words that increase happiness and generate confidence on the inside. For example, instead of writing the word “determined”, write “unstoppable”. Instead of writing “honesty”, write “absolute integrity”. Here is the word list I came up:
Replace Your Old Story
For this step, disengage your emotions and think about your life as levelheadedly as possible. What is your current position? Where are you in life right now? In other words, what has been your life story up until now? Mentally pin down a description of your current place in the world as you currently see it. Consider your recent accomplishments and your recent failures. Consider what you have, as well as what you lack. Write a few sentences that encapsulate the current plot of your life.
Next, picture the life that you want. Picture yourself achieving your goal and fulfilling your purpose of living. What does this new story look like? How do you need to change your current story to match it? What words do you need to remove or change to turn your current story into your new story? On paper, transform your life as you see it now into the life you want to have in the future. Cross off words, insert new words, delete storylines, and add sentences. Turn you current position into your future position. As you write your new story, act as if you are living it out right now. Write “I am…,” not “I will be…” Here is how I changed my current story in 2010 to a new story that I could start living out immediately:
Write Your New Story
At this point you should have two things: a dozen words or short phrases that powerfully influence motivation, and the nuts and bolts of your new life story. The final step is to hang your empowering words and phrases on the backbone of your new story. In other words, it’s time to merge the soulful with the practical. Here is the final product of the new story I wrote for myself in 2010:
Notice the difference between my original story and its emotionally charged counterpart. In the end, you should have a galvanizing personal story that you strongly identify with. Your new story should be so inspiring that it immediately improves your self-confidence and automatically starts to generate influence over every part of your life.
It takes a great deal of initiative and courage to sit down, face reality, and write out a new story for your life. If you followed all of the above steps, be proud of yourself. If you didn’t, it’s not too late. Sit down and declare your new destiny as soon as possible. In my next post, I will show you how to stay focused on living out your new story by asking yourself the right questions.