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hey buddy! What’s your story?

December 29, 2016

I am a firm believer in innate knowledge – stuff that we know but don’t necessarily know that we know. When we see that innate knowledge displayed in the people around us we don’t always recognise it in them either. It just is and they just know.

Think of an average guy, minding his own business when a man in a dark suit pushes past him provoking a surprised/angry response of “Hey buddy! What’s your story?” The dark suited man angrily mumbles something about making a huge mistake and then disappears into the crowd.

We might not think of the average guy as being particularly wise, but in that moment he is giving voice to a profound insight that unfortunately it seems our sullen friend in the dark suit isn’t able to hear. Shame really, he needs to. We all do.

So let me be that average guy for you – and you don’t even have to be rude and push past me!

What is your story?

What is the story you are telling yourself over and over again that is creating all this trouble and worry that appears to be the reality of your life? Whether the story is about you, or about someone else and the way you relate to them, what story are you telling yourself that is making you angry? Or sad? Or frustrated or disappointed?

Got it? Can you see it clearly? Good.

What ever the story is, stop it. Stop telling yourself that story and the feeling will change. Stop telling yourself that story and the reality of your life will change.

Now I am not saying don’t feel anything. Our feelings are there to give us important information about what is going on in the environment around us. We need to feel joy, surprise, anger, despair, disgust and shame.

What we don’t need is to keep telling ourselves the stories that keep re-triggering those feelings so that they become sustained, negative moods in our life.

And that is the wisdom that is in the average guy who yells “Hey Buddy! What’s your story?” at us as we push past him full of self-pity, frustration or righteous anger.

We are like the younger monk in one of my favourite teaching stories…

A young monk is traveling with an old monk when they come to a fast running river where they meet an old woman who asks for help in crossing. The young monk immediately informs her they are unable to help her as they have taken a vow to never again touch a woman. The old monk however simply smiles and lifts the woman onto his shoulders and carries her across the river and deposits her safely on the other side. The woman thanks the old monk and head off towards her destination.

The two monks continue their journey for many hours in silence until the younger monk cannot take it any longer and goes into a lengthy tirade, angrily accusing the older monk of breaking his vow and questioning his commitment. The old monk listens carefully and nods as the young monk berates him. When he has finished the old monk waits for a second before turning to his younger companion saying “I put the old woman down beside the river, why do you insist on continuing to carry her around?”

Listen to the average guy and the old monk. Give up your story about how things should be. Stop carrying all that extra weight around with you.

If you want to take this idea a step (or ten) further, watch this TED Talk by Donald Hoffman. His message is the same – what we think we perceive is not reality. Let go of that story if you can! Mind blowing stuff.


If you would like me to come and share with you and your team the benefits that come from my work in the theatre and the experiential learning environments that I create, make me an offer via the Contact Me page.

Here is what some participants have said about their experience with me:

A week out from participating in the Samurai Game with Paul Marshall as facilitator, I am now convinced of what I had merely suspected, minutes out from completion – the Samurai Game has changed my life. Having recounted the ‘story’ of the day to a number of people close to me, from the introduction, to […]

Sara (Solicitor)

I have just been reflecting on the amazing success of our Year 6 and 7 Leadership retreats this year. Finding a way to engage and motivate students for two days about the qualities of leadership in a practical way is no mean feat. Keeping 60 boys engaged for that period of time is even more […]

Claire Howden (Assistant Principal-Religious Education)

For more on the Samurai Game you should start here and here.

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After you have subscribed, send this post on to your friends. Go on. You know at least one person who should read this post and three more who could use a bit of shaking up… seriously. Do it now. You read this far so send it on! I promise they won’t judge you or think less of you if you do.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2016 4:55 am

    Great posting Paul!

  2. January 2, 2017 5:58 pm


  3. Shane Marshall permalink
    January 3, 2017 9:10 am


    On Thu, Dec 29, 2016 at 8:20 AM, finding my own Way wrote:

    > Paul Marshall, theSamuraiGuy posted: “I am a firm believer in innate > knowledge – stuff that we know but don’t necessarily know that we know. > When we see that innate knowledge displayed in the people around us we > don’t always recognise it in them either. It just is and they just know. > Think” >

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