Over the past couple of years, I have been greatly influenced by the writing of Don Miller. He wrote the New York Times Bestseller Blue Like Jazz followed by A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. The latter is Don writing about living a great story, why this is important, and how to live a great story. Then, he co-wrote the screenplay for Blue Like Jazz, the movie. In the movie format of Blue Like Jazz, they use an acronym to help us track with the story in the movie. SCCR which is pronounced S(u)CC(e)R. SCCR stands for Setting, Conflict, Climax, and Resolution. These are the elements that are found in every great story.
Do you find yourself sitting on your couch wasting time watching movie after movie, looking for someone to text, or aimlessly spending hours on facebook? By that, I mean, has your life become boring? No offense if you love living like that, but living that way is actually a boring life. Well, you may be too busy doing these things to call it boring, but I gurantee you no one goes to a movie to watch a character sit on a couch, watch movies for hours on end, and text and facebook to stay busy. Those things may show up in a movie, but it is usually when a girl breaks a guy’s heart, and he checks out on life for a while. The emotional music comes in, and we all sit there waiting for him to do something. It is so painful to watch someone on a movie screen live a boring life that we can only stand it for a minute or two at the max. That is why screenwriters only give a minute or two of absolutely nothing happening. We need something happen. Why?
A character is what they do.
A story is a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.
The character has to do something. Beyond that, the character has to want something and face conflict head on to get it.
Part of the reason why life can become so boring is when we are avoiding conflict. I think that is something people my age do. We avoid conflict in conversations, avoid conflict in relationships, and avoid the foreseen conflict that comes with face to face relationships, so we settle for digital conversations that require very little from us.
Last week, I was in Colorado. I woke up at 5:20 am, and climbed a mountain that morning. If there were wild animals, I’d have to see what would happen. I had no gun or knife. It was just me and the mountain. That was my setting. Hiking up it for two hours was my conflict, and the climax of the story was reaching the summit. Then I hiked back down to the cabin, and there was the moment when the story resolved.
I had a great time, and I actually had a story to tell people about. Like the time I almost fell off of a cliff, or when my water bottle did fall off the cliff and I watched it slip over the edge and then fall to oblivion. When I saw a deer, or my view as I looked out over mountains all around me.
In order for me to live a great story, I had to do something. You and I could get tricked by technology among many other things that we are living great stories when we are not. Reading this blog, agreeing with it, and sharing it with someone is all well and good. I hope you do. But saying that thoughts are good doesn’t make your life good. You have to do something.
Every great story has Setting, Conflict, Climax, and Resolution.
Sometimes, you have to go find the conflict. Sometimes, you have to create it. If you don’t, you won’t reach the summit of the mountain. You won’t reach the peak in your relationships. You won’t enjoy the peace that comes after the climax of your story, because your story won’t have resolve. You only have resolution after doing something.
So if your life is boring, find something you want to do. Or just find something that will be challenging. Then go do it. If your relationships are boring, do something that will be challenging together. (As my friend Kent says, “We won’t remember the Starbucks moments later in life. We remember when we actually did something.) If your marriage is boring, do something that will be challenging together. (The conflict doesn’t have to be a war between the two of you, it can be a war against something outside of you two that you face together.)
Plan something out that will challenge you. Then throw yourself into it. Climb to the top of the mountain. Enjoy it for all it’s worth. Then let it resolve inside of you as you walk down the mountain. Don’t forget to enjoy the view along the way.