How Story Changes Things

Looking at tough experiences through a powerful lens

After studying much of Donald Miller’s work, wife and I are beginning to see life through the lens of story. He has an excellent resource available called How to Tell a Story.


We went through an exercise in the PDF to help make sense of the past by viewing it as a story. The life experience I chose was when I was overwhelmed in college.

Donald Miller’s exercise helped me realize my experience was actually a good story in the making.

Go download the PDF right now and come back here once you get to the questions on page 13. The rest will make much more sense once you do.

I wanted to get a degree in engineering, but many obstacles blocked my path. It made me feel overwhelmed, inadequate, and stupid. I eventually started seeing a counselor, who was my guide through the story. He helped me plan how to tackle each obstacle one at a time so I wouldn’t have to quit school. I broke up with my girlfriend, restored the relationship with my family, fixed the car, and dropped a class. I felt relief knowing problems were slowly getting solved.

But if I hadn’t found a guide to show me a plan, awful things would have happened. I would have been frustrated and stressed to the point I quit school and move back home. Worse yet, my friend may never have become my wife.

Instead, I found the energy to keep going. It took student loans, bad grades, extra classes, switching majors, transferring to a state school, and six years — but I finally finished my engineering degree!

This experience unlocked many unexpected opportunities: jobs waiting for us after graduation, becoming debt free, and the means to move to FL to be with my mother-in-law when she needed us most.

The perspective of story is huge. Looking at life this way makes for a richer understanding and a greater sense of meaning.

Imagine what it could do for you.

Instead of imagining, find out! Try Donald Miller’s exercise (page 13 of How to Tell a Story) for yourself and share what you learn.