What’s Your Story?

We’re all the same and love is blind.  ~ The Killers (Change Your Mind)

Five years ago, a few of us from my college were talking with a homeless man for a while, just listening to his story. He explained how a divorce with his wife eventually led to him being homeless.  Another man we talked with flat out told us that he chose to be homeless and liked it more! He mentioned the freedom of having no bills or responsiblities. An intriguing perspective to say the least.

While in high school, my sister said that a guy told her he thought I was stuck up. I was floored and upset because of how opposite I was from that – I was painfully SHY.  Shyness is often confused for egotism.

I know each of you have examples in your own life of your first impressions being completely wrong of others.  It is still difficult not to put labels on people when they choose to label themselves. For example, those who dress goth, emo, thug, homeless, business, and ballet dancer are associating themselves with everyone else who dresses that way.

Labeling Others: Why Do We Do It?

Do you see how different the stories were of those homeless men?  Why then, would we affix a single label to them that defines them in our minds?

Humans prefer to know things.  We use science to try to understand everything about the world we live in.  We want to know how that hummingbird is hovering so steadily and why puffer fish are so poisonous.   Those examples have traceable causes.  Hummingbirds flap their wings up to 90 times per second. Puffer fish are believed to get their poison from their diet, as scientists at Nagasaki University have bred poison-free puffer fish by controlling the fishes’ diet.

Did you know that hummingbirds (and other birds and insects) get lift from both the down stroke and the up stroke of their wings?

Our desire to understand our world is what causes this unfortunate problem.  When we see a stranger, instead of logically accepting them as a complete question mark, we’ll make a quick judgment by observing their attire, gait, demeanor, and activity.  Like the science examples, humans have some traceable causes for who they are.  But there are so many variables in our lives that affect each other in complex ways that it is impossible to fully understand why any one person is the way that they are.

Scale It Back

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being observant.  For example, I’ve found that observing yourself is the best way to destroy bad habits.  Having an active mind and observing your surroundings is a great way to learn.

Like many things in life, we need to seek out the middle ground here.  Humans like extremes, but they are rarely the best option.  Do not label anyone so thoroughly that you don’t leave room for a change of opinion.  At the same time, I must advise against walking up to a gang and asking them if they’d like to go ballroom dancing with you.

Everyone Has A Story

Eyes Tell A StoryWe are a fantastic species.  We are all unique with our own hopes, dreams, fears, and insecurities.  More importantly, we all have a story.  If you want your life to be a whole lot more fascinating, start asking strangers what their story is.  Even the most hardened hearts will often soften when someone takes an interest in their story instead of their criminal record or why they wear socks with sandals.

We are drawn to stories.  Movies, books, video games, plays…they are based on story.  If you’re a Christian like I am, you believe humans are a key part of an amazing story of creation and redemption.  If you’re a naturalist, you believe we’re the most capable species in part of the incredible story of life ex nihilo.

Any way you slice it, humans are part of a larger and smaller (personal) story. At this basic level, we’re all in the same boat.  I think Bob Marley was on to something.

I might write about my story on here (or as a book) someday, but right now I would love to hear your thoughts on this post.  And if you’re willing, I would love to hear your story right now (as brief or lengthy as you wish to share).  Feel free to leave it as a comment or use the contact form to email it to me if you’d rather not share it with everyone else.

This song had me in tears just now. It is by one of my favorite bands – Keane. To me, it speaks of a person wanting nothing more than to be understood. Deep down, that’s all of us.

So be understood…

What’s your story?

About the Author

I'm lazy, but you can call me Stephen. When you're as lazy as I am, you need superior strategies to live well. My strategies are so effective that I'm productive every single day. As the world tries to figure out how to always stay motivated, I create strategies that don't require it.

Riley Harrison

What’s my story huh. Well I love travel as much as you do and plan to visit England, France, Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Spain this year. Reading is part of the good life for me. Also enjoy writing (3 books) and teaching on subjects related to human potentiality. I am obsessively introspective and sometimes think my motto is nothing is so insignificant that it can’t be over-analysed. I’m introverted and prefer reading a good book (or even a bad one actually) in the presence of my cat than attend most social functions. I also think giving back is a component of the good life so I volunteer to mentor the incarcerated and provide guidance and friendship once they are released. And last but not least, I thoroughly enjoy your website.
Riley

sguise

Thank you so much for sharing your (interesting) story! Those are some fantastic destinations, Riley. Of those, I’ve only been to Germany. I need to get out more, haha.

You and I are very similar! Let’s see….Analytical travelers that like to help people. More recently I’ve embraced reading and I love to write of course! You mentioned a cat with reading, well…cats are my favorite animals (Lions overall, and house cats for pets).

I am naturally introverted, but recently I’ve made significant moves towards extroversion. I’m closer to the middle now.

Thanks very much for the website compliment. I work hard on it. 🙂

EDIT: I think that’s awesome what you do for the incarcerated. That is truly caring about people. They need friends like you.

Chris Kahler @ Bloggeritus

My story isn’t very exciting, but I guess that’s how everyone’s story is to themselves when they have to fight for what they want in life.

I slept my way through high school as the valedictorian scoring the highest scores on all tests in the school (I.Q. ACT, TAKS, & GPA) and then had a baby, dropped out of college, quit my bartending job, committed myself to inspiring others, realized the internet is the best way to do that, and now I’m here at age 22 supporting my 2 year old daughter and trying to grow my income to a point where my wife doesn’t have to work AT ALL, though she is getting a finance degree to work for my corporation as it expands over time.

I’m extremely ambitious, love ALL forms of art (I am a severe hobbyist. I would have 100 hobbies if I could), love writing, love philosophy, I enjoy traveling the world and want to visit all the splendors this planet has to offer (and explore my craving for photography in the process of that), plan to become a keynote speaker on inspiration, motivating others, teaching people how to teach…

I want to make myself a changer of lives for the better… starting with my own and helping others along the way as I go, because I understand and I am thankful for where I am now, but the second I allow myself to get comfortable is the second I’ll quit progressing. I know there is more in store for me, so my story is still writing itself.

Thanks for writing this post, I like talking about myself haha

sguise

Chris,

I think your story is plenty exciting! I love your ambition and outlook on life. I think you’ll do very well if you hold to these values through difficult times. Being that you like to stretch yourself to grow, I have no doubt you’ll do just that. Awesome!

Congrats on your HS accomplishments. Very impressive. I’ve always been a master test taker too. Through my entire school career there was only one class (Commercial Bank Management) that truly challenged me and it was my last semester. It started with 50-60 students and there were only 10 of us at the end of the semester taking the final exam (2 of which handed in blank exams). I got an A! 😀

I truly enjoy listening to others’ stories, so feel free to talk about yourself anytime. Thank you for sharing Chris.

Chris Kahler @ Bloggeritus

Yeah, it’s my believe that failure does exist (some will say it doesn’t)… however it doesn’t just happen out of no where, it happens when a person gives up. The only way to fail is to quit really, so that’s one of the principles I live by that keeps my stretching myself further.

As for high school, I almost wish I would have flunked. I feel that our education system is a total fluke. It doesn’t teach the things people need to know. High school and the schooling system in general is not gearing out generation to advance into enlightened thinking, but rather destroying what makes people individuals unique within the universe. It’s a system I feel is designed only to create a sector of the work force that is dwindling down by automation. A system I believe is only there for install a respect for authority.

Where is passion in education these days? It’s my belief that teaching knowledge that doesn’t benefit upon applying it is a waste of effort. To really teach all you need to do is provide a bit of knowledge and more importantly the motivation for the person to want to learn more.

Motivating someone to learn is the best way to teach them, and my school only motivated me to sleep. It also doesn’t help that a significant number of our “teachers” are half minded themselves anyways…

I’ve got a lot to accomplish in my life. I see too much going wrong in today’s time, society, this generation, and with everything in general. I know these things will never change, but that’s not what I’m here to do. I am not here to change the system, just how people perceive it. We aren’t forced to fall in line, we choose so according to how we are influenced. Don’t people know they can do what they want as long as they act according to how they want to be? No they don’t, which is why I’ve committed myself to teaching people just that! 🙂

And just to clarify, the reason why I wish I would have flunked is just to prove how worthless the system really is. People think you’ve GOT to excel in these stupid institutions to make something worthy of yourself. That’s part of the reason why I dropped out of college, and just up and quit my job. I have something to prove, because that is one thing that influences people to change… proof that it’s possible.

Chris Kahler @ Bloggeritus

I have one more thing to add… I get just as much benefit from your follow up comments as I do your blog posts. Keep that up for the entirety of your business. I see a lot of other “pro bloggers” that have outgrown the need to communicate with their audiences. This doesn’t help inspire people, but puts a division between where the people are and how far the blogger has come.

Keep up your communication with others, it really helps. Thanks for that!

sguise

I share your sentiments about the school system. My desire to learn really started after school – because school teaches us that learning is a requirement and work. In reality, learning is fun and rewarding.

I also have some qualms with the way employment works here too. I wish it was (and think it should be) based on ability and attitude instead of experience.

As for bloggers turning off comments and such – I can understand why they do it. I think it is mostly the spam and moderation aspect of comments that causes them to shut them off altogether. I love the interaction and I hope to keep them going!

Thanks very much for your in-depth thoughts!

Gabriella The Stepford Wife

What a great post!!!
Really gets you thinking about both the small and big things in life. Gabz

sguise

Thank you Gabriella (or Gabz if you prefer)! I’m pleased that you enjoyed it. 🙂

Archan Mehta

Stephen,

Thank you for sharing your story. I hope to share my story when and if I start a blog. Right now, I am finding it difficult to get off my butt and get some exercise. So, first things first. Don’t want to put the cart before the horse or jump the gun. Let us play the waiting game, both of us. Until then, keep on contributing your terrific posts. You are one heck of a darned good writer. Cheers.

sguise

You need to get on that blog right away Archan. You can even start one for free! No excuses. Let me know when you do so I can read your story. Thank you very much for the compliment – it means a lot.

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