3 Reasons Why Your Life Story Is Boring And How To Tell A Better One

Life Story

A story involves a person that wants something and is willing to overcome conflict to get it. – Donald Miller

I started this blog because I felt the story I was telling with my life was incredibly boring. I realized that if I had to write the sotry of my life, no one would read it. So I decided to change it. I made a list, started a blog and started doing some impossible things. 

Since, I’ve been able to some pretty cool things, but i still get lots of questions on how to tell a better story, live a more interesting life and doing something impossible when it feels like you’re not doing very much at all and living a pretty mundane story.

If the story you’re telling with your life is boring, there are 3 main reasons why. Here’s how you can fix them and start living a more interesting story today.

You Don’t Know What You Want.

You sit around all day watching other people do cool stuff and you want to do something awesome, but you can’t come up with something. You have no idea what you’d do if you could. You’ve never actually thought about what you actually want.

Nothing seems interesting so why bother. So you sit and watch and live vicariously through others bored out of your mind. No wonder there’s never been a story written about a guy who sits on his butt watching youtube videos of people doing awesome things. 

How To Fix This

Live vicariously through yourself. Some people are born and know excactly what they’re supposed to do. Throughout the course of human history, this has happened to 11 people (approximately). Everyone else has to work at it.

Work at finding out what you really want? Yes.

It takes some time, but there’s an easy process to figure it out.

  1. Try something.
  2. Did you like it? Do more of it.
  3.  You didn’t? Try something else.
  4. Repeat As necessary.

Do this. It might take a while, but if you do it enough – you’ll find something that captures your attention and boom you’ve got it.

You Haven’t Tried Something That Really Scares You

You haven’t tried something that you have a very real chance of failing. It’s impossible to have an adventure where there’s no risk involved. Adventure needs uncertainty. Adventure requires risk. Risk means you might fail.

I’m not going to pull any punches – failing sucks. It really does. But it seldom sucks as much as you think it will and it sucks way less than never even attempting it in the first place and always wondering “what could have happened?”

I find the most dissatisfied people are the ones who hold themselves back from doing what they really want to because they tell themselves they can’t do it (I know because this was me). Occasionally, people can’t even tell you what they really want to do because it’s so intimidating. They actually do know what they want, they’re just too scared of failing they don’t want to even mention it out loud so they just say “I don’t know.” In order to experience some sort of conflict, some sort of conflict, you have to do something scary enough to invite in risk.

How to Fix This

The worst answer to “fixing” this problem is to be fearless. There’s no such thing – and attempting to do so is pretty much pointless. If you’re doing anything worth doing, there should be an element of fear involved. Fear doesn’t have the final word. Fear’s only effective when it wins out over your courage to do something impossible.

It’s remarkably similar how similar the equations for both boredom and adventure are – there’s really only one small change between the two.

Boredom = Fear > Courage

Adventure = Courage > Fear

When courage wins out over fear, you’re on an adventure and you’re on your way to telling a great story. When you let fear win out, that’s when boredom, dissatisfaction and unhappiness being to creep in.

Lets fix that. Think of something you want to do.

What’s the next level beyond that?

What’s beyond that?

Got it?


Go do that. You. Do it. 

If you just jumped back a little from the computer, freeze up, eyes get really wide and think to yourself, “There’s no freaking way can I do that.”

Congratulations. You found something that scares you. You should go do it.

You want to add adventure to your story and start living a more interesting life? You have to invite more conflict in, which means taking bigger risks and doing stuff you think is incredibly scary or even impossible. Go do it.

The Wrong Kind of Conflict

I should note that there’s a very dangerous type of conflict you should avoid – manufactured conflict. You familiar with it – made up problems, fake conflict and reality TV. The people that manufacture it often lead such uninteresting lives that they make up problems that have nothing to do with anything whatsoever. They just know that conflict makes a good story whether or not it’s productive.

In most cases, it’s manufactured out of thin air to add drama to an otherwise boring and fairly depressing life. The result is that it’s not only NOT a good story, but it adds nothing to your life. It doesn’t get you closer to want and it’s generally unproductive. Instead of creating fake, manufactured conflict, seek out things that provide productive conflict and get you closer to what you really want.

You’re Lazy

You know what you want. You’ve tried it…and…you gave up.

It was hard. Most other people would have given up too. You got as far as you could – but it was just too hard. You justify it to yourself.

But you phoned it in. You went home. You quit.

You’re not willing to overcome conflict

Say what you want, but whatever it is that you wanted, wasn’t worth overcoming the conflict that was in your way. You didn’t want it enough to persevere through the suck. Whatever it was that you said you wanted, it wasn’t worth it so you quit.

How To Fix This

Stop quitting. Just stop it. Here’s 17 strategies for never giving up.

Stop being so lazy. Remove the barriers from your life that are keeping you from doing what you really want.

Find something you actually want. Sometimes wires get crossed during the “know what you want” phase and you end up pursuing something that someone else really wants you do.

Someone else wanted you to have the house. Someone else wanted you to have that job. Someone else wanted you to do that sport/instrument/business so you do it, but in reality, you could care less about it. You can anticipate the costs, but sometimes it’s not until you actually face the conflict that you realize it’s simply not worth it.

The Difference Between Quitting & Persevering

You quit when: Whatever You Want < Whatever You Have To Overcome

You persevere when: Whatever You Want > Whatever You Have To Overcome

If you don’t really want something for yourself, its going to be hard to keep going when all you really want to do is quit. Find something you really want, go after it even if it scares you and when it comes to conflict, bring it on.

If you’re not happy with your life story, there are 3 reasons:

  • You Don’t Know What You Want.
  • You Haven’t Tried Something That Really Scares You
  • You’re Lazy

What’s your reason?


Change it.

photo credit: Auntie P cc

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  1. says

    Great post. It is sad to hear friends and family talk about how life treats them bad, how they are restricted by this or that, or listen to them drone on and on about meaningless things they can’t control.

    The first line of this post, “I started this blog because I felt the story I was telling with my life was incredibly boring.” really hits home with me, especially after reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Dan Miller. It makes you think about the way you live your life and give a better perspective. No longer are you powerless to drift along in life, you can write your own story.

    Joel, I think it is amazing what you have done. You are an inspiration to many, especially to me. It takes action to write your own story and action is what you excel at. Thanks for the great post

  2. says

    Great post. I really like your first line, “I started this blog because I felt the story I was telling with my life was incredibly boring.” We could all use that realization in our lives.

    Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years did it for me. Once you realize that you can change the story you are living, you will never be the same.

    Thanks Joel for providing the inspiration and I hope others, after reading your post, will provide the action needed to live a better story

  3. says

    This is great, love the simple equations! And these are so true. About 6 months ago I realized I wasn’t telling the story I wanted to do so I quit my job and moved. However, I still remained employed for “the man” somewhere else and am getting that urge again. Just the other day a buddy of mine decided we will be quitting our jobs in the next year once we save up some dough and travel the US in a van for a year. Scary stuff! But I know it’s what’s right. We seriously only get this one chance and if we don’t live out the lives we want – its all over. Thanks for the motivation!

  4. William Dulitz says

    Great article!

    I took the career everyone said I should, I took the jobs everyone said I should, bought the stuff everyone said I should, bought the house one person said I should when nobody else said I should…now…I’m working out of it all!

    I’m starting to take your advice, signing up for obstacle races, bicycle races, training for for a 100+ mile bike ride, and signing up to volunteer more. Essentially, if someone asks me to do something…and I can possibly afford to do it, I say yes to at least trying it.

    Last year that was signing up for Warrior Dash and Volleyball, this year it is soccer, signing up my own team for volleyball, Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, MudChug, reading much more, Crit bike racing, and talking to strangers. So far my story is getting better and learning many more stories too.

    Much to the dismay of some of my friends, I stay in my entry-level position because I don’t want to turn out like them…always talking about work when they go out and wondering why they can’t find companionship with anyone but people from work. I stay in this job because I ENJOY IT! I can talk to people outside of work about things other than work, I can talk to people at work about things other than the technology world. I can talk about racing, bicycling, coffee, tea, and my other muses.

    I am working toward a small change of duties at work, one which requires more travel for a 1-2 year project which will take me all over the country along with travelling for the Spartan Race Trifecta. All of this is way outside my comfort zone and I’m pretty flippin excited! I’ve already got my name in for volunteering and money put down on my hotel room for the Midwest Super Spartan near Chicago, so I can’t back out now!

    I am going to share your article with the Spartan Race Facebook group because I think this is some of what they’re working toward.

    Thank you again for the great article.

  5. Rita says

    you have done it again joel. remember the thing i wasn’t ready to commit to? the thing that was freaking me out and i told you i wouldn’t get a tshirt until i was sure? well. i’m going to email you and share with you what that thing is. i had already decided yesterday..and then ir ead this post. thanks for reminding me. You’re awesome!

  6. says

    It always seems to come down to those basics doesn’t it? Getting ultra clear on what you want (tapping into your passion, really), doing what you fear, and persevering. And you’re right…most give up. And it could be any one of the three or all of them.

  7. says

    Love it … simple points so many of us miss or forget. Being lazy, incosistent and giving up is something I can definitely improve upon.

    Thanks for the post buddy

  8. says

    The nice thing about doing something that scares you is that it doesn’t cost a fortune, and you don’t even have to leave the country. Climbing a mountain is free. Zip lining, a scuba lesson, or rock climbing can be under $50.

  9. Michelle says

    The past year or so has provided me with some pretty tough insights. Oh, I call it the journey of who I am not. I recently read a quote “The first step in finding out who you are is finding out who you are not”. I realize how much I have tried to live up to the expectation of others and how I have allowed my dreams to get squashed…all the while I thought I was doing the right thing by completely setting myself aside, Well now I am where I am and I deeply regret letting those parts of me die. So, this was great to stumble upon…now to head in the right direction :)

  10. says

    I love it. I’ve been racking my brain for weeks trying to launch a self hosted wordpress blog, with very similar goals as yours. This was an inspiring find. Thank you.


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