Back in college, I knew this guy who’d tell everyone incredible stories of his friends’ accomplishments.
Even years later, after bumping into him and catching up, he’d still talk about the successes of the people he knew. At a certain point, I felt as if I knew more about his friends than I knew him. And to me, that felt a bit strange — to have this feeling of not really knowing someone even though you’ve gone to school with and have talked for years with.
Eventually though, our conversations became stagnant. He had run out of stories. Stories that reflected his friends’ success that I hadn’t already heard of.
I decided to confront him. I told him I wanted to hear about what he had achieved, what he had done for himself all these years. Not his friends.
… I don’t have anything to say.
Turns out, the reason why he had been telling stories of the people he knew rather than himself was because he believed his life was boring. That there was nothing interesting about himself. In fact, he was ashamed of who he was and what he had accomplished when he compared himself to the success of his friends.
And so I told him:
Look. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. You might not have accomplished as much as your friends have, but you have something they don’t: the gift of storytelling. Nobody, no one can tell a success story better than you can.
A lot of us tend to look down upon ourselves when we see what others have or have achieved. We ask ourselves “why” we can’t be as successful, or as interesting, when in truth, we have something others lack that makes us interesting. We’re just not aware of it.
This guy was a great storyteller — he’d been doing it his entire life — however, he’d been so obsessed with sharing his friends’ success with other people that he completely forgot what he was special for: storytelling.
You see, it doesn’t take much to be an interesting person. All it takes is to discover what you’re good at and to turn that strength or passion into a skill you can utilize, and years later, you’ll have more success and stories of yourself to tell. Eventually, you’ll become the person you’ve always wanted to be and for others to see — someone with a special talent and a great story.