By Steve Moran

We all live in a story. But really it’s multiple stories. And those stories completely determine how we live our lives.

These stories are made up of who our parents were, how we were raised, our experiences both growing up and as adults. During our early growing up years, our stories were almost entirely created for us and we were along for the ride.

As adults though, we get to pick the story we choose to live. This is so powerful and so important. By the time we become adults our early experiences have a huge impact on the story we tell ourselves and the story we live.

Who’s In Control?

Too often we feel like the life we are living, the story we are playing out, the main characters are largely out of our control.

It looks like this:

  • If only I had a better boss or worked for a better company
  • If only I had better parents
  • If only I had been born better looking
  • If only my parents had been richer
  • If only I had been able to get into a better school
  • If only I hadn’t taken drugs

Don’t get me wrong, all those things can and do have a profound impact on our lives. The circumstances and the decisions we made in the past make our story today easier or harder. But this does not mean we don’t have the ability to rewrite our story.

Nirvana Baby Story

Thirty years ago the parents of Spencer Elden, who was at that time a 4-month-old baby, got a phone call from a photographer friend asking if he could use Spencer in a photoshoot for an up-and-coming band named Nirvana.

The parents agreed, and into the pool went the photographer and naked 4-month-old Spencer. The entire photoshoot lasted maybe 15 seconds, and the resulting photo landed on the cover of the band’s iconic album “Nevermind”.

The parents were paid $200, not much but for a 15-second photoshoot 30 years ago, not that bad either. That album has sold more than 30 million copies and the cover has no doubt been viewed hundreds of millions of times.

So What?

Why am I telling you this story? Because now at age 30, Spencer is suing Nirvana.

He is alleging they engaged in child pornography and this one photo take when he was 4 months old destroyed his life. This thing happened to him, he had zero control over it. In fact, I promise he does not even remember it.

And at one point in time, he actually embraced his fame. He recreated the image a number of times and has the word Nevermind tattooed on his chest. Apparently, those efforts did not meet his expectations.

His response is to embrace a story of failure, and, in doing so, he is suing the band.

Three Choices

In his life right now he has at least three choices. And in a very real sense, they are choices that we all have each day of our lives.

  1. Get on with life, do something productive and amazing. Simply ignore or maybe not ignore, but acknowledge it is part of what made him who he was, then move on.
  2. Exploit it for all it’s worth. Use that thing that happened to him as something that can open all kinds of doors. It could be as simple as signing albums for a fee. It could give him an edge in writing a book or being a public speaker. So many things. None, of course, would be easy, but that thing that happened to him as a baby could be an amazing launchpad even today.You likely have not had something this big happen to you, but you do likely have some things that have happened in your life that you could exploit, in a positive way, to give you an edge.
  3. Embrace failure, which is the thing he has done. He has let this thing that happened before he was even aware, ruin his life. He has let it become an excuse for an unhappy miserable life . . . what he is claiming in the lawsuit.

The Big Problem

Here is the problem with his approach.

Let’s suppose he gets all the money he asks for, which seems unlikely. He will still be the same miserable person. Money won’t change that one little bit. Going forward, he will simply be known as that guy who sued Nirvana . . . over a baby picture.

It will make his life much harder. Who would want to hire someone like that to work for them and risk a lawsuit?

Good and Bad

Each of us has had good things and some bad things happen in our lives. Some we had no control over and some we have done to ourselves. But right now, today, no matter what your age, you have 100% control over what the rest of your story will be.

Go change the world, one act at a time.