Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What's Your Story?

Everybody has a story. I'm a big believer in this. Most people think their story is boring, pointless, and just not worth telling. I would argue that they don't understand the value of their own story. I have a belief that I've been nurturing for a while, and that belief is that history as it is written in the history books was written by the conquerors, not the conquered. Or, to put it in less gruesome detail, it was written by the scholars and the academics, while the stories of those who actually lived through history have long since been forgotten.

Here's an example:

We have Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. The history books praise Thomas Edison as the father of modern invention, and he may very well have been. But what about Tesla? He also lived during that time period and his inventions were incredible. His goal for mankind was far-reaching and, had he achieve it, would have been phenomenal.

New history is cropping up that tells a different story. Who was Tesla and who was Edison? And were they portrayed accurately, or was one portrayed as the failure while the other was painted as a hero? Who wrote the stories that we now believe portray these two men? I would love to read an autobiography of Nikola Tesla. I think that would be a phenomenal piece of work because it may shed new light on an old story.

What would be even better are stories written by the people that lived and worked with these two men. Those are the people that would have told their interpretation of the men, how they acted, how they responded to failure, what their upsets were, and what drove their passion forward. These people would have thought their stories were pointless, but in reality they would have been incredible works that we who live today could have read to get a true look into the lives of these men.

Everybody has a story. Everybody. The elderly have incredible stories. They've lived through wars, genocides, failures and successes in the countries they love, loss, heartache, growth, and triumph. Their lives may have seemed uneventful, but when you string that life into a story you see that they have something to share and incredible wisdom to impart.

Everybody has a story. The young have stories. They view life differently than the rest of us who have been smacked down a couple of times. They see beauty where we see mud, they feel vibrant and energetic while we spend half our lives trudging through exhaustion. Their world is very cut and dry. X = Y. It makes sense to them. Their stories can give us a different view on the world we live in.

Everybody has a story. The teenager dealing with the highs and lows of puberty and of peer pressure. The young soul trying to figure out where they stand in this world and where they're going to make an impact. They are risk-takers, often trying far more than we adults would ever want them to try, but learning from it nonetheless. These stories are worth hearing because we can get an inside look into their world and how life occurs for them.

Everybody has a story. Regardless of your situation in life, whether you're rich or poor, young or old, from Brooklyn or California, Ireland or the Middle East. You have a story and it's beautiful because every story is a story of life. These stories are how we can truly see the world through the eyes of another. That is how compassion is born because, as Ender said in the novel Ender's game,

Our stories when told help other people truly understand who we are and when we understand people, we can't help but love them. So I ask you, what's your story? Have you considered that it's worth telling?

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