They are everywhere at the moment. With the explosion of the Marvel movies, Silicon Valley startups and overnight superstars plucked from the internet; origin stories are all around us. All of them, to a certain extent, are made up. The comic book authors crafted those of the super heroes. The others that exist in the real world cannot tell the story of every little thing that happened. So they have to delete and adjust to a narrative that aligns with how they want to be seen by the outside world or by themselves. Since all origin stories are created in one fashion or another, it may be helpful for your daily life to fashion your own. Not pluck it out of thin air but rather weave some real events of your life in with a narrative that propels you forward.
My origin story goes something like this. When I was 12 years old, soccer was definitely my fall sport. However at that time, the term “travel soccer” had not really grabbed hold. In fact, this was the first year in which my town participated in what we referred to as “spring soccer”. My younger brother was going to play for the spring team at his age group and my father was going to help coach. Unfortunately I had either missed the tryouts for my age group or there just weren’t any. Regardless, the first day of practice came along for my brother’s team. They were sharing a field with the team for age group right above mine. I knew most of the players from school. Although the team was already formed, I decided that I was going to get onto that team. At that moment, I did the only thing that I could think of to get the attention of the coach. I RAN! Rather than sitting and watching my brother’s practice, I started running laps around the field where they were practicing. For the entire 90 minute practice, I kept running around the field. When my father and brother were finished, we packed up and went home. Some time around 9pm the phone rang. It was the coach of that older team, they wanted me to play for the team. That was the beginning of who I became. Someone willing to go the distance and use unique solutions to problems.
If you notice as you read that story, it all fits together relatively well. It’s been 30 years since those events and I could not tell you definitively if that story is 100% accurate. All of those events definitely happened. However I’m not sure if there was a player who broke their leg, so they needed someone else. Perhaps the call from the coach came a week later. In the end, those detail DO NOT MATTER. What truly matters is that the story fits my beliefs about who I am and who I want to be. The event was chosen but the story was “created” because I want to see myself in a particular way. I have millions of other events that have happened in my life. I could have easily chosen to create my origin story using a huge failure and rehearsed an excuse around why I could never be a success because of “that thing that happened”. People do it all the time. The question that is most important for me about origin stories is, does it serve you? Is your origin story going to make you or break you?
If it is not going to help, then change it! Your life story is not objective truth. It is a jumble of memories that have been given varying degrees of clarity and importance. So decide on a moment in your life that can act as a catapult for the days that are coming. It doesn’t need to be something from your childhood. It could be this moment right now! “I read this great blogpost about origin stories and I didn’t like mine. So right then and there I decided that I was going to take action. I….” One of the main things about life is how you feel about yourself when you are alone and have a moment to reflect. If you don’t feel good about yourself, then change your story. Even Darth Vader was able to redeem himself, why can’t you?