Episode 49 : Discover the Missing People of Your Autobiography

by Ian

in Podcast, Prompts

Don’t forget the important insignificant people

Too often we look to the things of our life to talk about. The places, adventures, heartache, career even the family but we don’t take the time to consider all the people of our Life Story.

People from your past

Who are the people you've forgotten from your past

A story is not just cold information. As we look into the themes of our life we will talk about the things and automatically talk about the people associated with them, as they are often the facilitators of those stories but there are numerous other people who just don’t get mentioned. Instead, let’s start with the less important people, to help remind us of our stories.

Initially if you look over a period of your life you will see many themes, topics and events to tell stories from. Amongst these stories will be people who you can include, to flush out the topic and help us understand it. Because you’re focused on the topic and the people are only in the story to help that topic, many other individuals will be missed and not even remembered because they’re not important enough to include.

The unimportant people can lead to great stories

Systematically consider each person who you can remember during a time in your life. Now your focus has shifted from topics to people, with these people reminding you of stories within a topic.

Some of the people (like some topics) will matter little to you, whereas once you consider others in their own right, you’ll realise that there is a story that stems from your relationship to them.

From a superficial point of view, these people may be unimportant but if you focus for a moment on them you may realise that there is a story worthy of mentioning. Maybe that kid down the road, who you never played with and you had never thought of until now, said something once, that lead you to be aware of an event that taught you a lesson. Without remembering this person you may never have remembered the lesson and chances are there is a great story wrapped up in learning it.

As an exercise, remember a time in your life, say one specific holiday as a child.
Normally you would talk about how you got there, where it was, what you did, what it meant to you and the like. In amongst those stories will be people.
Now look at the same holiday but instead of the topics and events of it, remember all the people.

  • Who did you travel with?
  • Who did you meet?
  • Who did you participate in activities with?
  • Who did or told you something that you remember?
  • Who did you find attractive or who did you have a falling out with?
  • Who was involved in adventures with you?
  • How did you feel about these people?
  • What were their personalities like?
  • How did everyone interact together?
  • Do any of them fit into you Life Story in a more significant way?

By focusing on the people you will add a more personal aspect to your stories but you will also discover new topics to talk about that wouldn’t have been considered without using the people as the prompt to take you deeper into that topic.


  1. Choose one of the existing topics that you will tell stories about.
  2. Change your focus from the stories of your topic to the people who populate it.
  3. What are the stories that stem from each of these people in this topic.

Who do you now remember by placing people first? Please let us know in the comments below.

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Music is from

Tony Guerrero
from “Blue Room”
(Charleston Square Recordings)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album

Jeremy Cohen
“Rose Room” (mp3)
from “Jeremy Cohen: Violin Jazz”
(Violinjazz Recordings)

Buy at Napster
Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album

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