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How does your story end? Design a life that leads to a powerful climax.


Like joke telling.

Andrew Stanton, one of the brilliant minds behind many of the Pixar movies you have loved over the years, says that “story telling is like joke-telling. It’s knowing your punchline.” He claims that when you tell a story knowing your punchline, everything in the story makes sense — because everything in the story leads to a singular goal. It’s a good story, well-told.

Your punchline?

In the divine comedy which is your life, it makes sense to think about your punchline. In other words: where is your story going? Will it pull into the station as you intend it to, or end in disaster? Making yourself think about how you want your life to end isn’t easy. To actually make yourself pause midstream — to stand outside your own life — and look at yourself, and think hard about what you want to be able to say at the end of your days, and what you want others to say, isn’t easy. But if you want what you’re doing today to make sense within the context of your whole story, it’s worth the effort.

How does it end?

One thing for sure: it will end. The question is, how much would you like to influence the way your story ends? You may have watched Tim Burton’s movie, Big Fish. If not, I highly recommend watching the whole movie. This movie is not only great entertainment; it will help you think about how to tell the story of your life. The film is basically about a son trying to separate the fact from the fiction in the tall tales his father has been telling over the years. Whether you watch the entire movie or not, please watch this short clip (about three minutes) from the film. In this scene, the many characters surrounding the father’s life are gathered to send him off, and his son finally has a much better grasp of who his father was.

Key Point

Invest in the hard work of considering where your life is going. Knowing where your story is going affects what you do today.

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