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Telling My Untold Story: Aspirations and Hiding Behind the Curtain

With all this talk about living our lives so that it’s a story worth telling, I’ve been thinking lately…”Am I really telling my story?

If we want to be great, authentic, world-shifting human beings and writers there are two simple steps we must take in order to be that: 1.) Write Our Stories, and 2.) Tell Our Stories.

And so we ask ourselves… What story am I telling with my life? What’s the story that brought me to where I am today? What about my story sets me apart? Am I telling my story in my writing? Is my story real and am I being real? What’s going to happen next in my story? Is my story even worthwhile?

These questions are all thought-provoking. I mean, don’t get me wrong, stories are great. I love to tell them. I love to hear them. I love to cry and reflect at sad ones, and laugh and slap my knees at funny ones. Who doesn’t like a good, well-told, well-acted story?
And there are a lot of great story tellers out there too:

I spend a lot of time being inspired by the impossible stories of renaissance men and women like Joel Runyon and Emilie Wapnick, the risky trials of Tyler Tervooren and Lach Lancotter, the inspiring life outlooks of Srinivas Rao and Tessa Zeng, the adventurous travels of Erica and Shaun and Nick Laborde, the entrepreneurial prowess of Collin Vine and Mars Dorian. I could go on forever here!

I love their stories. I love their outlook on life. I love how they inspire myself and others to not just be more inspired, but to do what is within us to inspire others as well. They push me to turn my life into a story worth telling.

SO, WHAT’S MY STORY?

But when it comes to telling my own story, I’ve always been hesitant to share it. Not because I’m some sort of freakaleak with skeletons in my closet, but more so because I don’t really like to talk about myself. I guess you could say I’m more of a listener than a teller.

I’d like to change though. And while I plan to remain a wonderful, dedicated listener, I know I have so much more to add to the conversation.

And so I originally thought I’d write this post and share a tiny part of one the stories I’ve written for myself over the past twenty-three years of my life in this wild world. I thought I’d tell you about something that has totally changed my life. Something profound and majestic.  Something a mover and a shaker and a world changer would do. Some sort of riskology case study, impossible turned possible accomplishment, trailblazing, nonconforming decision and action and result.

Yet, for some reason, as I write this, and it’s now time to tell my story, all I can think about are these little12 year-old kids I taught for a week back when I was living in Beijing  last year. I was teaching them what the word “aspiration” meant by asking them to share with the class what they aspired to do and be when they grow up.

Each of them answered proudly something along the lines of, “I aspire to be the rich and live a mansion” or “I aspire to own a big company that makes lots and lots of money” or “I aspire to be a millionaire”.

My heart began to sink as I wondered what happened to the kids who used to aspire to be the police officers and firefighters, the animal and planet savers, the teachers and doctors, and the world leaders that my classmates had for answers when I was a kid.

And then there was one girl who on her turn stood up and said, “I aspire to help people and make the world better place.”

I thought, when she grows up she’s going to be an inspiring, world changing woman with a story to tell.

Because that’s what that little girl and all those wonderful people I listed above are doing with their stories… In their own, unique, individual way they’re chasing after their aspirations, and in doing so they are moving this world and shaking this world and changing this world for the better.

And that’s what I want to do with my story too. That’s what I am doing. That’s what I won’t stop doing.

That’s my story. Well, so far.  : – )

About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

Share with me what you're getting into that matters to you. It could be stepping into entrepreneurial pursuits, embarking on a journey of the self, making a crazy life change, or even if you're totally stuck. I want to connect with, support, collaborate with, and learn from as many people as possible through this blog (that means you!) Click the *Share* link in the main menu and let's connect by filling out the form.

"What you seek is seeking you."

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About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives. Share with me what you're getting into that matters to you. It could be stepping into entrepreneurial pursuits, embarking on a journey of the self, making a crazy life change, or even if you're totally stuck. I want to connect with, support, collaborate with, and learn from as many people as possible through this blog (that means you!) Click the *Share* link in the main menu and let's connect by filling out the form. "What you seek is seeking you."

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  • I can totally relate to being more interested in listening to others stories, then telling mine. Most people that I interact with comment on my keen listening skills.

    I’m pumped that you dig my stories. There are many ways to convey a point and I think that stories are the most effective.

    Keep doing what you do… you inspire me to kick some serious ass.

    • Hey Nick!
      Yea you are a kickass storyteller. Oh and your blog post titles always kick ass too! That is a skill I’m looking to improve upon 🙂
      But you’re right – telling stories is definitely the way to go! Lately, as I’ve said in this post, I’ve been realizing that I need to tell a bit more of mine 🙂
      And thanks for the kind words! I can easily say the same about you inspiring me to kick some ass too!
      – Laur

  • I consider myself to be more of a listener too for the very same reason you listed here. Anyway, love ur life story so far… 🙂 I think one can be both a good listener and a story teller at the same time.

    • Hey Jill!
      Yea I totally agree – if you’re all talk and no listen, well, I think that’s even worse. There’s definitely a happy medium. I just love to listen so much, but I think that if we tell our stories more maybe we get people to tell their own stories more as well, and then, consequently, we get to listen even more 🙂
      Thanks Jill
      – Laur 🙂

  • Lauren, what a tease!! 😉 I loved the teaching story you shared…but it definitely left me wanting more!! More about you and your actual story that is. It sounds like you’ve has some incredible adventures and experiences so far.

    I’m right there with you…and the amazing other people I’ve been meeting lately, who envision a better world. After seeing your tweet on one of Tessa’s recent posts, I headed over there to read her thoughts on creating a better world as well. It’s inspiring that so many people have that burn inside them. Both your story and hers have me really thinking about what we can actually do…how to make real changes happen…and what those changes should be. I agree that we need to be the change…that’s the first step.

    But what’s next? How do we turn your story and my story in OUR story? I’m beginning to think that’s the path to really making a difference. (I realize I’m rambling a bit…I’m drinking wine and avoiding homework at the moment.) I guess what I’m trying to say is that I recognize the fire that is burning in you…I feel it too. I want to live a life uncommon…not just to travel or have adventures, but to make a real difference. I feel as though I am on the right path, but taking baby steps. I haven’t quite figured out how to gain true momentum yet. What about you?

    (Ok switching to coffee now…)

    • Adrienne you are so awesome! I am so glad that I’ve connected with you!! 🙂
      I am right there with you on so many levels as well! Something tells me if you and I ever traveled together or got into a good conversation over wine or coffee we’d have a blast!
      Based on what I’ve seen from you on your blog so far I am surely looking forward to seeing how you change the world and make it a better place as time goes on. I’m glad I’ll be there along the ride with you too!

      And as for being on the right path to live that burning life of not just adventure but also of making a real difference, I get you there. I think I’m taking baby steps too. I want to do so much more. And I guess as we “write” this story and start to see it unfold we’ll really start to see how we as unique individuals can do it ourselves. And then suddenly we’ll be sprinting without ever tiring as we gain momentum 🙂
      Just keep being you! I think that’s all there is too it 🙂

      Cheers with our coffee mugs! haha
      – Laur 🙂

  • Lauren,

    You caught me so off guard with the mention. Thank you so much for being there with us as we make our way through life. I am so humbled that you consider us to be an inspiration. Stories are what keep us going and wanting to continue to travel and lead a genuine life. While you think you may not have inspirational stories of your own, or ones you own, the conversations and thoughts that you have conveyed on your blog keep people coming back. There is nothing like the ability to drive a discussion.

    Much love to you girlie!
    E

    • Hey Erica!
      Thanks so much for the kind words! You guys are totally awesome. You are actually REAL and that is a rarity in this world today. As I said above, one of the big questions is, “Is my story real and I am I real?” You guys definitely tell it like it is with so much authenticity. I think if I ran into you two at a hostel and we got to talking you’d be the same there as you are on your blog and in your writing.
      And i must say I hope one day to run into you guys while we’re both on our pilgrimages 🙂
      Much Love,
      – Laur

      • I’m giving my personal testimonial, that they’re indeed “Real”. I got to meet Erica this past weekend, she’s as awesome offline as she is online. Plus she taught me that PBR is for the hipsters and Lone Star is what the bad asses drink…

  • Kim

    Laur, I really loved this post, so beautiful. I was just listening to a webinar today (because I work in a cube and that’s what I do) about communicating a message to people that will inspire them. See, I work in the environmental field which means I spend a lot of my day trying to convince people that don’t give a crap to save the planet. Anyway, one of the main points of the webinar was to TELL YOUR STORY. Tell the people why you do what you do and why it matters to you. Go for the gut. People respond to that. I wrote down in my little idea book that I should write a blog post about who I really am and why I do what I do. But you did it first! I’ll follow some day. Great post.

    • Hey Kim!
      Well I must say I admire you for the work you do. You are one of the people that answered that question when they were kids and then they went and did it! That is so amazing 🙂
      And you make a great point – I mean, for instance, one of my favorite things in life is to just sit down with someone and talk about life – how crazy it is, the meaning of it, why this and that happens. And the best conversations in person are really just a series of stories and insights we’re sharing back and forth.
      Why not make our writing the same way? And why not live our lives so we can make those conversations and life talks even more interesting and intriguing and inspiring.

      I look forward to reading your posts about your STORY! I def. think that who you really are and why you do what you do is a story worth telling and one myself and many others would like to be apart of!!!!
      – Laur 🙂

  • Lauren –

    You do tell quite the awesome story, and why is it awesome? Because it comes from the heart, and you tell it in your own way.

    I have met people that live normal, everyday lives, yet they can turn a story about going to McDonalds into one of the best stories you have ever heard. I also have met others who lead extraordinary lives, but when you ask them about it, they are humble almost to the point of shyness, not wanting to talk about it or tell their story.

    The important thing is to tell YOUR story how YOU see fit. Your awesomeness comes through with everything you write. Keep it up.

    • Hey Justin!
      Thanks so much for the kind words! Actually, it was one of your posts that inspired this very post! When you first launched the new version of Get Busy Livin, you stalked a lot about how you weren’t going to be preaching to anyone in your blog, but rather you’d be sharing your lessons through your stories.
      And I thought, “man that’s awesome. I like his style.” And I decided right then and there that I needed to think a little bit more about what you said.
      Because i love to hear peoples stories and you know what? I’m actually not all bad at telling them too! 🙂 So, I a m really excited to dive in deeper and get a little more personal and a little more real. I mean, this blog has always been 100% authentic me, but I want to be less of the shy story teller and more of the McDonalds kinda storyteller haha. 😛
      Thanks Justin!!!!
      – Laur 🙂

  • Great story and I can’t wait to hear more about your story!

  • Ive said this a million times before… I love how you write & love your blog. I had never felt the need to share my story until I started blogging. On my blog I have been 100% honest and just been me and sharing my story. Since then my life has change 100% I have met some awesome people along the way but the best part is I have touch so many lives with out even wanting to do it to begin with. Last night I talked with one my friends from back home & was hsocked at what she told me. She told me that my blog especially my post about letting your dreams consume you has been making her reanalyze her life so much. She said she is going to fight for her dream of owning her own business and make it happen. That almost brought tears too my eyes because I didn’t set off to do that in the 1s tplace I was just being me and sharing my story with everyone. I love it now though to know that I am helping people realize they can do what ever they se their mind too.

    • Hey Jaime!
      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – You are freaking awesome!!! 🙂 It’s pretty amazing to know that just by being you and just by sharing your story 100% as just who you are and what you’re about can touch the lives of others. And I must say, I can easily see why 🙂
      That is so wonderful for your friend! I’ve had close friends tell similar things to me too and it makes my heart explode. There’s enough people out there saying “you can’t or I can’t” – I’m glad we’ve got fine individuals like yourself saying “I can” and other people realize that so can they!!!! 🙂

      You are so cool Jaime I hope one day to cross paths with you in person and have a few cocktails and talk about life and the craziness and fun of it!
      Keep on doing everything you set your mind too! I’m stoked to be along for the ride 🙂
      – Laur 🙂

  • Beautifully written, Lauren! You have no idea how badly I needed to hear this today, to be reminded that my life is a story and that I choose what happens next. There’s also a fine balance between telling our story and living our story.

    After I quit my job, sold all my stuff, and went to India, Vietnam, and Nepal for six months, it was easy to feel like “that’s it”. When I got back, I had (and am still having) a lot of trouble figuring out what’s next.

    But as you reminded me here, it’s not important to compare what happens next with what has happened, but rather to keep moving forward, to continue creating our story and sharing it with others. 🙂

    • Hey Raam!
      I feel on you so many ways here. I’ve been back from China and traveling south east asia for about 5 months after being abroad a year and I too am still having some trouble figuring it out. There’s something about traveling and exploring that makes things so much more clear. And suddenly, when you’re moving around in your home turf it can feel like you’re doing a whole lot more standing than moving.
      But as you said, we get to choose what’s next in our stories. So, I think we’ll both be writing some pretty awesome, adventure-filled, thought-provoking, wisdom-gaining, inspiring pages and chapters 🙂
      – Laur

  • Yes! I want to hear more of your story! It’s funny, I certainly didn’t think that this was something ‘lacking’ from the site, but now that you bring up making it personal, I’m really excited to see where it goes! I think we could all use a little more Lauren!

    • Hey Kristin!
      haha thanks Kristin! I am going to try my best! 😛 I can’t wait to hear more stories from others in response to my own! That’s my favorite part of this whole thing! 🙂

  • Hey Lauren – I know I’ve just found you, but I have a sneaking suspicion that your life will make one heck of a story. Keep creating the fantastic chapters you want to see unfolding. This post has inspired me to do the same!

    P.S. I’m pretty sure I addressed you as Laura rather than Lauren last time. I’m so sorry about that!

    • Hey Jenny!
      hah ait is okay – for some reason people online keep calling me Laura a lot! Maybe it flows w my last name better? I dunno haha.
      And thank you so much for the kind words! I am super excited to have just connected with you! I do hope and plan to make sure my story writes with adventure and inspiration. THose are my 2 greatest necessities in life. That and I love love love avocados haha.
      Thanks Jenny!
      – Laur 😀

  • Listening? What’s that?? Is that what I am supposed to do when there is beer in my mouth, preventing me from talking? Damn it. 😉

    • hahaha 😛 If I ever run into you somewhere around the world on a train or bus of somesort we’ll have to purposefully take turns telling stories between sips haha

      • (If there is Shiner he won’t say much FYI.) <3

  • Jossie

    In the past, I have heard people critic other people when they share their stories, or aspirations, and the result is that they get turn away from the same ideas they held close and dear to their heart, all because some funny (or irresponsible) person decided it was something they wanted to poke fun at or condemn. So with that said, I choose to share my aspirations, and even some stories, only with those who are close and dear to me, because we have built a level of trust. Besides, not everyone is interested in knowing everything about us, 2nd reason I don’t use FB, I don’t want to know everything about everyone 🙂 I’m not saying don’t share your stories or aspirations with the world, but watch out for the irresponsible people out there.

    • Hey Jossie!
      Yea you know what I totally agree with you! There are so many Debbie Downers out there and for one reason or another they want to keep you in limbo with them. The human race is not perfect.
      That’s kind of why I really love to share more of my stories and dreams on this blog. This is actually a huge support system for me. The people I’ve connected with through this thing have really made me se that I can do any damn thing that I want. Because they’re off trying to do it too, and we can push each other.
      Did you know when the Beatles were first trying to get a record deal all the big time execs said that they’d never make it and their sound was flawed. Good thing they kept up with their aspirations! hehe

      Oh and iwht FB… yea… I still don’t care about reading if someone is eating PB&J for lunch, but I just can’t seem to part with it haha.

      :

      • Jossie

        And I love to read about your dreams and stories here. I think you have done so well with this blog, and I’ve told you before, it’s more than a blog, can’t find the right word but blog is an understatement 🙂

        I’ve heard the Beatles story, and I love Michael Jordan’s story too…he was kicked off the basketball team as a kid, glad he kept on going. I can’t find the video, but there’s a really cool video out there showing some of the “conquered” stories, it’s inspiring!

        Oh, thought you might want to know, I just ate a banana 🙂

  • Loved this Lo! I liked what Jeff Daniels said in “The Lookout”, when he said that stories are how we make sense of the world. I think often times we may not like stories because there are parts that are not pretty or interesting. However, I think it’s those things that really develop the fabric of our stories. They are the things that were necessary so that we can live bigger and better stories. I think of some of the bad crap over the years, and while I regret how some of the things may have played out, I’m not necessarily sorry they happened. It’s those things of yesterday that have made me who I am today and those things are just as important as the pretty parts.

    • Hey Spencer!!!
      I really relate to you on this. Our past is our past, and our story today wouldn’t be unfolding as it is had it not happened – both the good and the band. I know it may be cliche to say, but if someone were to give me the chance to rewrite some of the more difficult chapters of my life, I don’t think I’d change a thing. It’s the pages we have learned from the most that are what help us make the most sense of the world!
      Although I may add a few pages in there that would have made it so I met you sooner! hehe 🙂
      Lauren 🙂

  • Wow… I’m brand new to the Mad to Live blog but I absolutely love everything about it – your whole philosophy, your personal Mad to Do list, all the posts that are inspiring and motivating standing as continual reminders of all the possibilities open to us. You really have an extremely important message to share and I hope you continue to do so for a very long time to come. I am so excited to have come across your space and can’t wait to share it with my readers as well… Thanks for what you do and I look forward to coming back for many future visits!

    • Hey Laura!
      Thank you so so so much for the kind words 🙂 I appreciate it so much and its messages like that that motivate me and inspire me to keep working harder on everything! TO be honest with you, I don’t even know what I did without ths blog before I started it. The people I’ve connected wth it, the personal discoveries I’ve had through it, the opporutities that have come my way…greatest thing I ever did was star tthis thing. IT’s my second home 🙂
      So thanks for letting me know I’m doing a not too shabby job with it! It means a lot Laura,
      Lauren 🙂

  • Well, for what it’s worth, Lauren, I find YOU pretty inspiring! I’m always blown away with your insights and the effortless way you seem to write. Even if you’re not writing about your own personal story, you’re still usually writing about some pretty inspirational stuff. I LOVE your outlook on life, and your enthusiasm for it. Rock on, girl!

  • I completely agree, I feel like other people’s stories are much more entertaining than my own. Sure, some amazing and some creepy stuff has happened to me and yes I have experienced a lot but there are people out there who have seen, experienced and done so much more than I have.

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