Telling Your Story, Top Gun Style
Leading Thoughts #81
Question of the Week:
What story-worthy moments have you had this week?
Have you seen Top Gun yet?
My team saw it as a team-building event during military duty in Virginia this week (and it was awesome!).
While watching, I analyzed the movie from the lens of Matthew Dicks' Storyworthy. He is a master storyteller simplifying the storytelling process so we can enrich our lives using our own stories.
If you want to persuade, teach, or entertain, the most effective way is usually through a well-told story.
Top Gun fit Dicks' storytelling framework to a "t."
The stories we usually fail to capture or successfully re-tell are our own.
To capture our stories, Dicks recommends capturing "tiny moments" in our daily lives. The tiny moments can be just a few seconds, minutes, or hours. They tend to be the most powerful because they're authentic to ourselves and the most relatable to our audience.
Dicks calls this our "Homework for Life." The process is simple:
Create a spreadsheet with two columns
Summary of Storyworthy Event
At the end of each day, record at least one story-worthy event in one or two sentences.
That's it, you're done. There is no step three.
By doing this process daily, we guarantee ourselves 365 potential story ideas. Quantity is our ally as many gems aren't visible until enough time has passed to realize their significance. This process creates a mindset where we begin hunting throughout the day for moments to highlight (similar to writing a weekly newsletter).
The homework directly produces a better life, too. We increase our perception of time abundance, the amount of time we feel like we have each day.
Dicks’ second big idea is the five-second moment. This is the cornerstone of each story.
Dicks describes these as:
the moments in your life when something fundamentally changes forever. You fall in love. You fall out of love. You discover something new about yourself or another person. Your opinion on a subject dramatically changes. You find forgiveness. You reach acceptance. You sink into despair. You grudgingly resign. You’re drowned in regret. You make a life-altering decision. Choose a new path. Accomplish something great. Fail spectacularly.
Every good story MUST have a five-second moment. Every movie is built around this single five-second moment.
Indiana Jones realizes his faith at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Richard Gere realizes he is in love with Julia Roberts.
Top Gun has its moment, too.
The five-second moment is the culminating event in our story. Once we identify the change that occurred, we work backward to shape the rest of our story. Our story should start with a demonstration opposite of the final change.
If you pay attention to the opening scenes in a movie, you can usually predict the ending. The rest of the events should be connectors as the story makes that transition.
Indiana Jones starts by him commenting about the foolishness of faith.
Richard Gere picks up a prostitute like an emotionless business transaction.
While these examples are dramatic, these moments in our own lives can be easily overlooked conversations around the dinner table or interactions with a friend.
The challenge is that it might take us weeks or years to realize the five-second moments, but these are the gems we're hunting.
Can you identify a five-second moment in your own life?
(And have you seen Top Gun yet? If not, what are you waiting for?)
Thoughts Worth Exploring:
Terry Crews was on the Tim Ferris podcast. His stories are perfect examples of the story-worthy model. The world could use more Terry Crews:
Any movement that doesn’t start with reconciliation, I don’t want any part of. We have to reconcile.
We have to reconcile men to women. We have to reconcile black to white. We have to reconcile Republican to Democrat. We have to reconcile. That’s the first rule. Because if we don’t, what you’re doing is postponing a war. That’s all you’re doing. …
With reconciliation there’s an understanding. With reconciliation it’s peace. Wherever you have reconciled, there’s going to be peace. … “Hey, I decide to unite with good people, black and white, no matter the race, no matter the color, no matter the creed, no matter I ideology.” I said, “I am going to unify with good people.”
Justin Welsh tells us how to build a better founder story. This is our backstory. You can use this for an elevator pitch, Linkedin, or Twitter. This is a $10k task. High skill and high leverage.
Laura Vanderkam provides 7 Ways to Increase Time Abundance. Who doesn’t want more time? These are a quick summary:
Track Your Time
Make Life Memorable
Don't Fill Time; focus on 3 important tasks each day
Linger in the Moment
Invest in your Happiness by buying back your time
Keep expectations small where you're most likely to meet them
People are a good use of time
Photo of the Week:
My favorite thing to do while traveling is spending hours literally running around town.
The University of Virginia (UVA) has a gorgeous campus and baseball stadium. And, they left the stadium unlocked while everyone was out.
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