Story Animals: Thursday, May 21st

The 3-act story structure (Beginning, Middle, End) is programmed into our DNA. It’s sprinkled into our brains like sugar and salt, right before the stork delivers us to our mothers. We are story animals.

Life’s Act 1 is childhood, the protagonist’s introduction into a new world. Act 2 is adulthood; this is usually the longest act, where most of the work and adversity takes place. Act 3, old age, is a sort of winding down. When we’re old, we can look back at our childhood and realize that the events of Act 2 transformed us into something new. We start to feel the release of tension and responsibility. We have scars and memories that attest to story well-lived.

Morning, Afternoon and Evening represent the 3 Act structure of the individual day. Every morning a new story is born. And every night a story is put to rest. Act 2, the bulk of the day, is when the “work” happens. In the morning, your day is capable of taking 1,000,000 forms; the future holds limitless possibilities. And by the close of that same evening, 999,999 of those possibilities have been weened out, and only one remains.

This is another reason why it’s helpful to think of your life as a story. Imagine that an author is sitting at his desk right now, trying to decide what YOU are going to do next.

Maybe you think that your life only has one trajectory. The place, the job, the relationships – it’s all written in stone. But the author writing your story, he knows that your future has exciting possibilities. Some of those possibilities are sad, some are boring, some beautiful, and some are more magical than the main character could ever possibly imagine – like little Dorothy in Kansas, playing fetch with her dog, right before the tornado hits.


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