Everyone’s life is a story. We are all living a story.
To really know someone, you need to know the story of their life. One’s life story is a statement of who they are.
In the late 1960’s and through the 1970’s, there was a marketing professor/sociologist by the name of Morris Massey. He had undergraduate and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Texas, Austin, and had a Ph.D. in business from Louisiana State University.
Massey produced a series of training videos that were the jewel of motivational training sessions used by several corporations. His videos were part of the required (motivational) sessions by many Fortune 50 companies in the late 70’s and early 80’s, as they attempted to mimic the company loyalty programs that were on the rise in Japan by Japanese companies.
I recall sitting through many of these sessions, and while they were required by my company at the time, I did find them to be more reflective and thought provoking than motivational.
In one of his sessions, he dealt with the psychology of understanding a person through a motivational session called “what you are is where you were when“. It was from this session that I have some lasting recollections and is where adaptation of the line “we are what we were when“.
Since my introduction to this Massey session, I have maintained this long-held belief, that, despite who we are at any given point in our lives, we’re simply a culmination of our “empirical” life experiences. This is true if you’re 10 years old, 30 years old, 50 years old, and so on.
It’s often said that we’re a culmination of our life’s experiences. Everyone has an opinion about anything and everything, and we are no different. As the old saying holds, “opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.” The fact of matter is, rarely do we change anyone’s world view with our written or spoken word, but often through their empirical life experiences.
While we don’t often, or easily, alter our world views based on what others think or believe, we do believe we can be motivated, encouraged and even inspired by open, honest, respectful and thoughtful dialogue.
If we (all) had the time to tell our life stories, and conversely, if we had the time to listen to other’s stories, our view of others may not change, but we could certainly gain a better understanding of why we are what we are.
Why are some people; overly-social and others anti-social, polite & kind while others are rude & obnoxious, why does one dedicate their life to savings lives and someone else become a mass murderer, why do some place a high value on family and others isolate themselves and feel antagonized by family.
Becoming wealthy or being a visionary – say a Steve Jobs or a Bill Gates – are accomplishments of a select few and is not the norm for most people. The personality traits of these people are still the subjective forces that make them who they are and are most likely the more superficial and not the obscure images of who we are.
Along the way, I will attempt to tell the story of my life. It will be a memoir of sorts. I won’t tell my story in the traditional sense (i.e., in a chronologically ascending or descending order), but I will attempt to tell it using a conglomeration of narratives, parables, anecdotes, annals and parodies , by randomly linking selected life events, experiences to anecdotes, and short stories.
To make sense of it all, I will use interconnecting links at various points to help the reader stay connected to each event and allow them to move easily forward and backward with each story by using a hyperlink called More on This Story Later (MOSL). This link attached to each story will connect to a related blog, Vlog or story.
So, if you ask me what I do, other than saying I am retired, I will tell you I am a StoryTeller. Storytelling involves a deep understanding of human emotions, motivations, and psychology in order to truly move an audience.
Our life stories through the prism of Storytelling can be fun, entertaining, unexpected, and lively. As one writer “Tell me Your Story, Not Your Status” put it, “it’s the narrative arc of your life, your motivations, your goals, what wakes you up in the morning, and why you do what you do.“
We are all living a story. Everyone has a story and it should be told.
Again, welcome to Visiontree Blogs and Visiontree Medium.
Dear Joe Neely Jr.,
I thoroughly appreciate every word of this article. I have been trying to write my memoir for sometime now. I have so much to say about the story of my life. While attending high school many moons ago, l was encouraged by my school counselor to Major in Journalism because l was such a good writer. Then l was told to major in Shorthand because at that time l won awards for being the fastest shorthand writer in the district. I was told to major in Sports because l was MVP Basketball, set records in track. I was multi-talented. Invited to compete worldwide with my singing in Austria. I went on to San Jose State College on a scholarship. Frankly, l was lost and didn’t know how to channel any of those gifts which would benefit me later in life. Life tossed me around. So now that l am older, l want to write my experiences and some are unpleasant, but needs to be told. After reading your article, l’m inspired to get on my laptop and start writing. Thank you so much.
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You have no idea how much your comment means to me. It’s amazing inspiration comes to us at the most unlikely times and from the most unexpected people. Just yesterday, I had fallen into the old “doubtful” and uncertain mode of thinking things like; who cares about my story and do I want to share – as you stated – some of the some “unpleasant” experiences. Then, I read your comment. So I said to myself, okay, one person was inspired to tell her story and that’s I need to press ahead.
I was up this morning around 4:30 a.m., sitting on my patio thinking, reflecting and watching some videos on my phone about pilots taking off and landing Airbus A380’s. That huge plane fascinates me. Then I saw the comment from you as was browsing my email messages.
I will say this. Don’t look at your life’s experiences as ‘life having tossed you around’. You have some amazing experiences which are unique to you, and it’s those unique experiences that has prepared you and your story. A shorthand writer, a MVP in basketball, singing Austria, come on! How amazing. I will certainly be interested hearing your story. As one writer put it, “it’s the narrative arc of your life, your motivations, your goals, what wakes you up in the morning, and why you do what you do.”
Get on that laptop and start writing.