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Shaping our life stories

October 31, 2013

Here’s a great idea….
In his book, Finding Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says,
“The only path to finding out what life is about is a patient, slow attempt to make sense of the realities of the past and the possibilities of the future as they can be understood in the present” (p. 4).

In other words…
In order to help us make sense of our lives, we each construct a life story. As we shape our stories, we must reflect on what we want our life story to be. Do we want our story to be one of tragedy or triumph, sorrow or rejoicing, drifting or purpose, emptiness or fullness, languishing or flourishing? We can choose to take note of our many good experiences and we can choose to see the good when challenges arise. When we do this, our life stories will be filled with hope.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life….
In order to create a life-affirming story, take a look at your memories that capture joy, growth, love, and purpose. How are you better because of these experiences? Also, look at the hard times. What have you learned from them? As you string together positive memories and identify difficult challenges that helped you grow stronger, you will create a life story filled with meaning and purpose.

 To Find Out More…
about personal well-being, check out Getting Our Hearts Right or The Personal Journey programs at, follow us at or contact your local county Extension agent. You may also enjoy reading Finding Flow.

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