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Change Our Story

Composer, author and philanthropist Peter Buffett on finding your own path to life fulfillment.

What Is Your Story?

Peter Buffett, son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, is an Emmy Award-winning composer, NY Times best-selling author and noted philanthropist. Currently, he is releasing socially-conscious music and touring his “Concert & Conversation” series in support of his book Life Is What You Make It.   


“How I got here doesn’t tell me who I am”
“Open Hearted Hand” by Peter Buffett 

What do you believe and why do you believe it?

We have been living out of stories that we’re told; Stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, stories history books tell us, the newspapers tell us, and our parents tell us.

We decide whether we believe in these stories or not, and build quite complex cases to justify our position. But where did these stories begin? 

If you look deep enough, every story comes from fear or fearlessness.

History books: Stories written by the victors demonstrate this either by morals or by might. These stories are built around "us vs. them," and not just conquest of countries and people, but nature and spirit as well.

Parents: Stories told to their children lived out as values and influences that are a direct reflection of what they needed—and did or didn’t get—as children themselves.

Society: Stories told through a myriad of laws (spoken and unspoken), media and modes of behavior that define what a community values and aspires to.

We act and react out of the stories we believe in. We are constantly making choices—almost always unconsciously—from the basis of what we believe. We live in a constant state of reacting from what we "know" to be true or untrue.

This is our past—collectively and individually—animating us. "Telling" us what to do based on what we "know."

This is reflected in the frustration of the Occupy movement. Something’s wrong and it’s big. But what is it? Something in the story is off track.

Is it really 99 percent vs. 1 percent? Or is it 1 percent in all of us?

What we’re really looking for is a new story—a story to live in to. Not old stories to live out of.

This country was "discovered" as a commercial enterprise. Of course it’s devolved into a financial disaster! All you have to do is read the first quotes of Columbus to see where we were heading: 

"They willingly traded everything they owned ... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features ... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane ... They would make fine servants ... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."  

So now I’ll start the piece over with:

What do you know and why do you know it?

We know with our hearts. We know with our gut. Our body tells us what we know.

Our mind processes and decides based on old information.

It’s time to not be afraid. To listen again. And know that anything—everything—is possible.

It’s time to create the story we want to live in to. And become that story ourselves.

Visit www.peterbuffett.com and Change Our Story to learn more. 

Image courtesy of umjanedoan, licensed under Creative Commons.


candace jenal
7/4/2012 7:56:35 PM

I think everyone has a story waiting to be told,it's what makes Us who we are.

david lunbeck
7/2/2012 9:58:31 PM

Do you remember the future ? . Do you remember the future that was portrayed by the story tellers of the 50, 60, 70 's ? Free energry , enviromentaly friendly industries, Bradbury, Asimov and Clark were my guides to a better tomorrow. I imagined the world as a beautiful place . I have always lived in the future , hoping for a better day just around the corner , believing in optimism as way of surviving lifes disappointments . Do you remember the future ? Lets keep telling hopeful stories for ourselves and this wonderful planet we live on. I don't thnk Aliens are coming to help in case we screw it up. We need Visonary's . All I know is the Archtypes of the past are changing and I hope the change is for the better.

tracy barnett
7/2/2012 12:46:54 AM

As shocking as Columbus' words seem today, they were quite normal by the standards of his time. Let's hope the readers of tomorrow will find today's norms as appalling. I dedicate my story - and my life - to moving things in that direction, in a strong and beautiful way, as you are doing. Thank you so much for the inspiration - and for the great new blog. I'll be reading it with great interest.

jennifer morrison
6/26/2012 2:39:19 PM

I've been saying this for many years - it's why I started teaching memoir and personal stories courses. As I always say, if you don't tell your story, somebody else is going to tell it on your behalf.