I recently have become friendly with Frank Britt. He believes you can write and change your “life story.” I think it is a powerful point of view. He recently wrote about that, and an important career decision, here.
Specifically, Frank decided to leave a very prestigious job to be the CEO of an online education company that empowers people. He really believes in the mission of the company.
Moreover, he adds in an email to me:
The most dangerous narratives are ones that diminish our inherent worthiness; we are seeking to advocate, empower, and enable folks to reclaim the truth and eradicate limiting beliefs about themselves (their pedigree, network, IQ, body, relationships, their privilege, etc). Many of these are what I call disempowering beliefs – they limit your perceived choices. The reality is that the past does not equal the future, and zip code or background is not destiny, and all personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs.
I think it is critical that we all realize that we have the power to choose and alter our perspectives. It often isn’t easy particularly if you’ve had a tough childhood or are in the midst of a streak of bad luck.
As a Board member on many companies, I can promise you that many talented, smart, honest and good looking people feel like frauds. They feel like they’re not worthy. To an outsider, it will look almost absurd. They have “everything,” but on some days seem not to realize it.
I would encourage everyone to think about the story you’re writing about yourself. Is it positive or negative? Is it empowering or discouraging? Are you in charge or a victim?
Change your life story, and I believe that you’ll change your life’s arc.
2 thoughts on “Changing Your Life’s Arc”
Jeff Bezos builds on this theme in his commencement speech to Princeton Class of 2010– this short 3 minute video is a great inspirational view into how you can change your life’s arch.
Bezos “Build yourself a great story.”
How will you use your gifts? What choices will you make?
Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?
Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?
Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?
Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?
Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize?
Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?
Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?
When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?
Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?
Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?
I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices.
What a great video and set of questions! I’ve written a blog post to amplify this. Thank you for making the time to write about this.