All good stories have an element of the unexpected. It’s what we all wait for in stories. You know when you listen to someone tell a story and it just seems “anti-climactic?” That’s because it’s missing that element of unexpected. The dragon didn’t pop out of the woods and chase them off course. The ring didn’t start to change Frodo. You didn’t find out that Tyler was an hallucinatory alter-ego. You see the unexpected makes us remember. We remember the little unexpected moments and we miss them when they’re not there. Which, ironically, means that on some level we expect the unexpected. We crave it.
I heard a story once about Bill Murray. Well, lots of stories. He’s kind of the king of unexpected stories. But one that sticks out the most is one I read from some dude who met him in an elevator. The dude gets in an elevator headed down to the lobby. The elevator stops on the next floor and Bill Murray walks in. The dude (storyteller dude), being kind of star-struck, wanted to say hello but he couldn’t find the courage. All the way down to the first floor in an elevator with Bill Murray and they were just silent.
The elevator reaches the bottom floor. They both walk out and as they part ways the guy stops him. “Hey! I’m sorry but I’m a huge fan and I just wanted to say hi.” Bill Murray looks at him, stone faced, then turns and walks away in silence. The guy was a little taken back and disappointed at the lack of response but turned and started to head in the opposite direction. When out of nowhere he hears foot steps. Like someone running. They’re getting closer and closer until he gets tackled from behind. In a daze he looks up to see Bill Murray standing over top of him.
“You will never forget this.” He said. Then walked away.
He never will. My guess is you’ll never forget it either. Because that response, running up and tackling a stranger, that was unexpected.
Maybe tackling is not your thing but… what is your thing? What part of the story you’re telling will be unexpected? Unforgettable? We need to think about this for our life, for our work, and for our business. The unexpected is unforgettable and it is what people will remember from the stories you tell.
How can you add an element of unexpected in to your life and work to make it unforgettable?
If you can answer that question, daily, I predict great things for you 🙂 Unexpected, unforgettable things.
Make great things.