Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Is Your Story Fake or is it Real?

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We easily get caught up in the artificial.

From bodies to food to experiences, we thrive on living out a story that isn’t real.

Visit any amusement park and watch people soak up these types of experiences. We take pictures of buildings made to resemble something real, but are actually fabricated from concrete and styrofoam. We wait in line to have our picture taken with characters from our favorite stories that are only normal people working a job dressed in a costume. We get on rides and have ourselves shaken like a baby’s toy, so that we can have a feeling.

Yes in a sense it is all real. You could touch it and see it and taste it and smell it and hear it. All senses activated. But in another sense, all of it was fake.

photo by

photo by joiseyshowaa

I am not saying amusement parks and rides and fun are wrong. My sons and I spent this past weekend at Universal Studios Orlando and we had a great time together. We enjoyed most of the artificial experiences.

I’m only saying that everything was fake. And everyone acted like it real.

Why Do We Love Fake So Much?

We took pictures. We imagined our lives different than what they are. We escaped reality. We ate food that wasn’t healthy. We had our senses thrilled by ups and downs. We were amazed by 3D effects.

We even act shocked when water was squirted in our faces.

We loved it. We soaked it up. We spent too much money on it. All for one reason.

Fake is easier than real.

Fake bodies are built by a scalpel, not discipline. Fake experiences are felt without taking any risk. Fake stories are told without stepping into fear.

One of the hardest things in life is discerning what is real and what is fake. Discerning between what matters and what doesn’t.

Better stories spend less time on the fake and more on what matters.

Is Anything Real?

If you think about it, not much of what we see or do or purchase actually exists. Whether you are a creationist or evolutionist, nothing in this world is actually real.

One view is that God spoke and made the world from nothing.

The other view is that everything in the world was crammed into an incredibly tight space until it exploded. The mass had no form, just incredibly density. And where this mass came from before that is unexplained.

At one point in the past everything we view as being real, didn’t exist. And one day it will cease to exist.

Not our clothing. Not our homes. Not our cars. Not our wealth. Not our poverty.

There is no spoon.

Two Things that are Real

You are. 

Your body is temporary. Your good looks. Your bad looks. Your beautiful hair. Your bald head. Your athletic abilities. Your brains. All will stop existing. All will cease to be.

But you, the essence of who you are, will exist beyond your life.

This is why people matter. This is why every single person on the earth has value. Because they are all real.

And love is real.

When we love, and by love I mean give to others sacrificially in a way that they could never return the gift, we touch them in a way that will always affect them. Love can change the lives of others.

These same others can then turn around and change the lives of more.

One day you and I will die. We will leave all of the stuff we call “real” behind us. And none of this real stuff will matter. We won’t care about any of it.

But if we chose to love, that will matter. It will matter to us. It will matter to those who received it. And the hope is that it will matter in the next life to come.

When we focus on people and focus on love, our stories shift from what is fake to what is real. And they become better.

What in your life is fake? What is real?

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About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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21 Replies

  1. Awesome thoughts Jeremy. I try to be as real as possible–I’m honestly not sure what is fake.

  2. HisFireFly

    Loved this as a fellow traveler hungry for “real”

  3. Mike Zserdin

    Very powerful:

    “Fake bodies are built by a scalpel, not discipline. Fake experiences are
    felt without taking any risk. Fake stories are told without stepping
    into fear.”

    Thanks Jeremy. Timely post as I work to build a family that has fun but keeps it real so to speak–a family that places the most value on real.

  4. Great points – the here and now matter. Our decisions will matter long-term positively or negatively. There are so many distractions that we can lose sight of what’s most important. I’m trying to be real in my life and strategic in the deployment of all that I have/am. Thanks for the reminder to be real today and not lose sight of what matters.

  5. She’s getting better, but my almost 11-year-old grandgirl is still afraid of mascots–anybody in costume when you can’t see a real face. And any reassurance that there’s a real person inside is tossed aside. She fears the fake. This is why we can’t take her to Disney World yet–which is a good thing because we don’t have the real money at this time. 😉

  6. DDF

    Thanks for keeping it real, Jerermy! To me, real means not pretending. Some days at the gym where I work out I hear the guys around me talking. … highly respected men with professional jobs. Some days there’s lots of jockeying for position … lots of hot air. Sometimes rather interesting hot air, but…. Sometimes I feel like screaming, “Come on, guys. Don’t pretend. How we spend our days is how you spend your lives. Be real!”

  7. So good! That’s a lot to chew on. Sounds like your fake experience left you with a lot of real food for thought. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  8. Mike Petty

    My observation has been that we all live in a fantasy world created by our limited understanding of what is going on. Rather than stretching to find reality, much of our energy goes into staying comfortable within that fantasy even if it is keeping us from reaching our potential. The stories we like to hear and the social groups we always return to are some ways in which we find confirmation that we are living in the real world.

    But Jesus said the path to life is hard and few find it. I was writing some lessons awhile back on using story in school to help students discover their passion and purpose. Here’s a blog I wrote at the time about fiction. It is speculative, but it fits with what you’re saying here.

  9. I think many of us prefer that fantasy world.

  10. There is a big difference between talking and doing isn’t there?

  11. If you think about it, the mascot thing is kind of creepy.

  12. What are those distractions for you?

  13. I’m certain you are closer to what is real than many of us.

  14. I’ve never felt any part of you was fake.

  15. For me it’s overextending time-wise. I love helping people, and I hate saying “no”. In the past I’ve said “yes” to things that took away valuable time from family. Or getting caught up in an activity, and missing out on the true experience.

  16. Mike Zserdin

    thanks. stay at it Jeremy. Thank you for your work and who you are.

  17. Fake experiences lead to a lessening of true life. It brings lower value of life.
    Chris Brogan just blogged about how businesses have cheapened social media experience.
    Fake experiences on Twitter are people who only post links and quotes with no interactions. It’s waste of time and followers.

  18. There is. Like the difference between a Tiger (doer) and a Hyena pack (bunch of whiners)

  19. I love reading your words, Jeremy. They serve as poignant reminders to live a fuller life. Yesterday, I received some disappointing news that left me with tear-streaked cheeks. I drove home and got into bed, pulling the covers over my head and attempting to sleep “perchance to dream.” But I couldn’t turn my mind off, so I got up and ended my night drinking beers with good friends. In a way, I guess I was craving the real – the people and the love – without being conscious of it.

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