Donald Miller on Living a Good Story

by Cathy on February 24, 2010 · 2 comments

in Ideas,Resources

Donald Miller, author of the generation-defining book Blue Like Jazz, knows what we’re talking about. His latest book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, could be the manifesto for the Uncommon Lifestyle. If I could recommend just one book this year, this is the one! Here are a few choice morsels:

  • Nobody cries at the end of a movie that is about a guy who works hard to buy a Volvo. But we spend years actually living those stories and we expect our lives to feel meaningful. If what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either.
  • The same elements that make a story meaningful, also make a life meaningful. A character has to face his greatest fears. That’s the stuff of good story. Once you know what it takes to live a better story, you don’t have a choice. Not choosing to live a better story is choosing to die.
  • If the point of life is the same as the point of story, then the point of life is character transformation. Life is designed to change us so that if we choose to let it, we can be transformed into a better version of ourselves.
  • You get the feeling when you look back on life that that is all God really wants from us, to live inside a body He made and enjoy the story and bond with us through the experience … I wonder if that’s what we’ll do with God when we are through with all this. We’ll sit around and tell Him our stories and He’ll smile and tell us what they mean … I just hope I have something interesting to say.
  • A good storyteller speaks something into nothing. Where there is an absence of story, or perhaps a bad story, a good storyteller walks in and changes reality. He does not critique the existing story, or lament about his boredom. He just tells something different and invites other people into the story he is telling. He gives them a better story too.

Donald shares the steps he took to create a good story for himself. I won’t give away the details because it is a fun read but our blog tagline “Innovate * Explore * Enrich” is the perfect summary for what he pursued. He develops these ideas further on his blog in a recent post Living a Good Story:

“If you plan a story this year instead of goals, your life will be more meaningful and you are much more likely to achieve your goals. For example, instead of saying I want to get into shape this year, I’m planning to climb Mount Hood with friends. Now my goal has a narrative context. Envision a climactic scene in that narrative … The idea is to create scenes this year that you will remember for the rest of your life and to invite others into the thrill of being alive … God created this beautiful expanse as an exposition within which to live remarkable stories.”

Well said, Donald Miller. Oh, and the book is also hysterically funny.YouTube Preview Image

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Josh Hanagarne February 26, 2010 at 5:39 pm

I’m not sure, but I think I might cry when he finally bought the Volvo in the movie:) Donald’s a great author. Go get yourself a treat for having such great taste!

Cathy February 28, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Josh, When did you first become aware of Donald’s writing? His Blue Like Jazz was full of enormous spiritual insights for me. Of the two books, though, A Million Miles was literally life changing.

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