Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

3 Ingredients to Creating Remarkable Experiences

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Great stories are like the human brain.

Eighty-five percent of our brains are water. A majority of the mass has little to do with anything. It just exists to allow the rest of your brain to function.

The other 15% keeps you alive and defines who you are.

Our lives are filled with the routine of life. Most of what we do makes very little difference in the type of story we are living. Routine decisions. The normalcy of a day. Habits, both good and bad.

But our lives are defined and remembered by the few magical moments that occur.

Remarkable experiences don’t just happen. They are a result of being intentional. We have to recognize them when they show up disguised and be ready grab onto them.

A blind man experienced a remarkable moment at a U2 concert last summer, and from watching him we can learn 3 different elements to creating these moments.

The Preparation

The show was over. U2 had played their last song, and were ready to exit. Before leaving, Bono, the lead singer, noticed a man towards the front holding a sign that read, “Blind guitar player, bring me up.”

Then the unthinkable happened. A man who showed up with a sign and a glimmer of hope found himself on stage.

The only word I can come up with is remarkable.

(If you are unable to view the video in your browser or email, click here.)

At first glance it may appear to be pure luck, but work went into making such a moment happen.

The first step was taken when this man learned to play guitar. When he took up lessons, it was not with the goal of having this moment.

He developed a skill even without the promise of greatness, but when the opportunity came, he was ready.

He then made a sign. Can you imagine the doubt that went through his mind?

This is stupid. The band will never notice. I’ll be just another idiot with a sign. I should go and listen like everybody else.

There was a dream, and he was passionate enough about his dream to try something that seemed unlikely if not absurd.

And it worked.

The Grace

Can you imagine how many people try to grab Bono’s attention everyday?

If it were me, I would stop noticing.  I would ignore everyone who tried to get close.

Yet Bono noticed.

The only way we can make a difference in someone’s life is to notice them. We have to take our gaze off of ourselves and our agenda for a least a moment and pay attention to everyone around us.

We have to notice our wives. We have to notice our kids. We have to notice our friends. We have to notice those who are in need.

And we have to be willing to help. To reach out. To give money. To lend a listening hear. To offer patience and understanding. To hand out smiles and gratitude.

It may seem like the only person who benefited most from this experience was the blind man. I bet, though, that it made Bono just as happy.

Being gracious makes our own stories better as well as those we help.

The Courage

No matter how much you practice, nothing can prepare you to play on stage with a musical icon while 40,000 people listen.

When Bono called out to the man, he had to have the courage to walk on stage and play.

I am sure he was nervous.  Probably scared. But when the voices entered his head telling him to sit down and shut up, he didn’t listen.

When his self screamed that he was not good enough, that this was dumb, that he was going to make a fool out of himself, he shoved it behind, and answered the call.

What if he hadn’t? What if he had decided that it was dumb idea and he should stay in his seat? The chance of a lifetime would have drifted away. Forever.

It makes me wonder how often I have missed out on incredible experiences simply because I lacked the courage to get up on the stage and sing.

Let’s make it our goal to be prepared.

Let’s show grace to others.

Let’s have the courage to pursue incredible moments.

Are you willing to answer the call? Tell us about your most remarkable experience and how it happened.


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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28 Replies

  1. Cassandra Frear

    Love this. Just love it. 

  2. I love watching the video. Tons of fun.

  3. Marc

    Insightful thoughts on, as you say Jeremy, a remarkable moment in both this man’s life and in Bono’s. I would add, for the audience who witnessed it, and now who knows how many who hear about this man’s experience.

  4. Great job Jeremy! That story is inspirational!

  5. Taking the time to do this has impacted many.

  6. Anonymous

    What a great story and post. Really enjoyed reading it.

  7. Jeremey, I loved this!  So well written.  I was at the Seattle show this summer and it was truly remarkable. This however was plainly beautiful.  Noticing others is something I write about often.  I can’t think of a better illustration. It reminds me of so many examples from Christ’s life. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I agree. Jesus notices. Blind men. The poor. Us.

  9. Cmscorno

    Hello there. I shared this with a group of high school kids and we all greatly enjoyed it. One of the students asked though, whether is seriousness or in jest, it was hard to tell, “What happened to the blind gentleman after the concert?” You may not know, but if you do, would you share it?

    Thank you for this wonderful story.

  10. Although I was not in attendance, I have seen others who were comment on it. It certainly seemed spontaneous and genuine.

    I don’t know what happened afterwards. My guess is that U2 went to another city and did another concert, possibly even inviting another person on stage.

    As for the blind man, my guess is that he went home and laid awake in his bed that night, feeling like he could conquer the entire world.

    Thanks for sharing. Sorry my answers are not more specific. I think the story still works, though.

  11. I have just discovered your blog, from your guest post at Jeff Goins – what a remarkable place and great writing.  Thank you.  I am looking forward to exploring more.

  12. I love this Jeremy! I too came over via Jeff Goins’ site and this immediately grabbed my attention. As someone who has spent 15 years on those kinds of stages and traveling to set those things up and create those awesome experiences, I know firsthand about which you’re writing about.

    I hope you don’t mind but I”m going to borrow this story for my book that I’m writing about creating the awesome experiences.

  13. No problem. Glad to have you visit.

    You brought up an element of these experiences I didn’t address. The boring, laborious work that goes into it as well. For every experience, their are the people doing the basic setting up that makes it possible for something big to happen.

  14. Elece Hollis

    I like your line: “To lend a listening hear.” If a typo please don’t tell me. I love it. We should all lend a listening “hear”!

  15. As to whether or not it is a typo, I will keep my tongue closed.

  16. Christian Writers

    I am liking this post! The fact that “He developed a skill even without the promise of greatness.” demonstrates that his passion drove him. We too need to be driven by the passions on our heart. We must hone our craft of writing (whatever our passion is) and write, write, write, even if we never see our book on a bestseller list or our blog on some top 100.
    The daily grind may not be as fun, but the result will be a story worth telling.

    -Rev. CM Logan

  17. I agree. The goal of writing isn’t necessarily to be read. But to explore and discover ourselves.

  18. Such a great story and great points! It’s hard to keep writing, keep investing, keep walking when you wonder if there will be magic moments. But those are the moments we live for aren’t they, when the hard work of parenting, serving God, practicing our skills collide with the pay off and the magic happens. It takes other people for that magic, if we hole up and keep others out until we’re good enough or the masterpiece is finished we can miss a lot of grace and beauty. I think one of my favorite magic moments was this summer on my second trip to Serbia when one of the mental institution workers turned to the group of Christians I was with and tearfully told about the love she saw in me and how glad she was I had come. That was pure Jesus right there, the ultimate magic.

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