“A good story involves a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.” – Donald Miller
I attended Don Miller’s Storyline Conference this spring. I read Don’s life-changing book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years while recuperating from the surgical repair of my tibial plateau fracture, and Storyline follows a natural progression from the book. In short, Don invites participants to intentionally live a better story. But if you’re going to live a good story, then you need to overcome conflict. Most of us eschew conflict like the plague. (The plague still exists by the way. When I lived in Colorado, an open space area near us—home to a prairie dog colony—bore signs warning that the cute little dogs had contracted the Bubonic Plague. You could enter at your own risk. It certainly made you think twice about walking there. I high-tailed it back to my car.) So if conflict lies in the way of us living a better story, surely we shouldn’t plop back down on the couch and give up. But most of us do. We’d rather grab a bag of Doritos and watch reality TV on the Food Network than engage in overcoming conflict. (Okay, I’d rather do that. Insert your own snack food and TV addictions). I suspect we do this for a few of reasons:
- We think conflict will go away by itself and when it does we’ll get the story we want. Why we fall for this magical thinking stumps me, but we do. Conflicts standing in the way of a better life—like a deeper relationship with your spouse, tackling a fitness program, getting out of debt, planning the trip you’ve always dreamed about, starting your own business — don’t disappear.
- We push off starting till tomorrow. Maybe we’ve heard Annie sing “Tomorrow” too many times, and never realize that if tomorrow is going to be a brand new day, we really have to start over. If we live on auto-pilot, tomorrow will be a repeat of today. And so will tomorrow’s tomorrow. And before you know it, Christmas comes again.
- We don’t know where to start. The curse of our society lies in believing that everything happens quickly and easily. But accomplishing goals takes work, a number of small steps put together. Rather than throwing in the towel before we begin, doing one small step today makes tomorrow’s small step a little easier. You have to live intentionally and begin plugging away. What is one thing you can do today to move you in the direction of your goal?
I’m trying to put this in practice myself. I love to write, but have had trouble making the time. I’ve started finding time in the early mornings which means rolling out of bed a bit earlier than normal. I also signed up for a 7 mile road race in August. It won’t run itself. I’ve been hitting the roads and the gym to get my body in shape. It’s not “fun” but I know I’ll love the feeling when I cross that finish line. The story I want to live involves being a writer and a middle-age man who’s in shape. What about you? What are some of the conflicts you’d like to overcome so you can live a better story? How are you living intentionally? I’d love to read your comments. _________________________
Photo from Stock.xchng by Julie Elliott-Abshire (je1196)