Ask Live a Great Story founder Zach Horvath if he collects anything, and his answer is short and sweet: experiences. “Whether it’s traveling, meeting people or taking a back road in a home town, the more experiences I collect, the better and more well rounded I can make myself.” The mantra-creator speaks in that relaxed, but eager tone many native Austinites seem to have.
If experiences could be collected in a jar, Horvath would need a mason the size of Kilimanjaro. Though they aren’t all his own, he’s learned that almost any experience can be shared through story. If you live in Austin, you’ve probably seen the phrase “Live a Great Story” printed in black, bold font, plastered in the city’s many nooks and crannies. You can trace that mark back to Horvath.
All Great Stories Have to Start Somewhere
The idea for Live a Great Story began as an itch for inspiration while Horvath traveled through Europe. Sharing food and swapping stories, as one does when staying in hostels, he saw opportunity for something great in the people he met and the incredible anecdotes they dolled out over dinner.
The feeling of community built from a table of strangers made Horvath realize that it’s hard to make life fulfilling if you go it alone. “As millennials, our generation is out of luck on how to do things the right way….we all make our own path because there isn’t one right way to do things anymore. Now we [have] to learn from each other and share our own experiences and journeys [to figure it out].”
When Horvath returned to Austin, inspired by the stories he’d collected, he did what many inspired Austinites do. He tagged a bridge in red spray paint, leaving a message for anyone who passed: “Live a Great Story.”
Horvath didn’t think anything of it until pictures of his red scrawl started popping up everywhere. People loved it. They talked about it on Facebook and tagged it on Instagram. Soon, Live a Great Story was a hashtag, and the movement was born. The red spray paint turned into a sticker, and then buttons and clothing. Now the hashtag on Instagram has 9,811 posts from people inspired by what Horvath and his team call “reminders.” The team constantly sees messages from people who have had their days, or even their lives, turned around because of these four simple words.
Conversation and Inspiration Starters
The logo and goal of the movement is not to tell people what to do. Rather, it’s to say, “Whatever you are doing, do it better; keep moving; keep crafting your own story, knowing that you will figure it out.” Sometimes life can throw you a curve ball, but Horvath believes we’re all on our way to living great stories. If you are in a particularly bumpy moment of life, I suggest you visit the Live a Great Story website, where Horvath and his team have bottled (or caught on film) inspiring snippets of the lives of people who are already living their great stories in a big way, and charging on with their passions at full speed. You can watch a street artist explain why he believes his art can change his city for the better, or check out what life is like for someone who gets to brew their own beer for a living.
Beyond the Stickers
Now that the company has been spreading wisdom for more than a year, the team wants to expand and give others a chance to share their stories with the world beyond Instagram. Horvath’s goal is to pair up with “rad” companies and causes that have inspiring missions or are willing to work with Live a Great Story and contribute to a worthy cause.
Horvath tells people who want to get involved to come “hang out on Instagram” and see how people’s lives have been impacted by a simple, yet powerful, phrase encapsulated by a white circle.
He also encourages people to order a pack of stickers and put one on their phone. The result, he says, will be astonishing. Once the sticker is attached, people come and ask about it. This exchange gives people the opportunity not to talk about Live a Great Story as a company, but to talk about their own great stories. That’s the whole point of the cycle.
What’s even cooler about the movement is that all proceeds from the stickers go to charities they believe in. So hop on the website, hang out on Instagram, put a sticker on your phone and start looking out for those delightfully simple, but beautifully impactful, white circles here in Austin and all over the world. By spreading stories person to person, we can inspire positive change one Great Story at a time.
Visit Live a Great Story through their website or on Instagram.
@theAustinot wants to know:
How do you Live a Great Story? Where have you been inspired by Live a Great Story reminders in Austin?
Every time I see this around town, I feel it. I think about my friends who no longer have the opportunity to expand their story and I’m so grateful that I have the chance to keep improving my own. My Lone Star Lady Bird blog was born out of my desire to fulfill this promise to myself. I’m writing more and enjoying life so much more as my little family gets out and fully embraces life in our amazing town! Sometimes it’s for the blog, sometimes it’s for us. Either way, it’s wonderful! I’ve met great people and giving my son great memories makes my personal story so much better.
These stickers, multiplying ad nauseum, really embody narcissism among millennials. You would never see “Help Others” stickers becoming a lifestyle brand. It also relates to the way social media have warped our social interactions into a pattern of self-branding, story production and consumption. They also embody the feelings of entitlement among millennials, in the sense that the stickers seem to presume that everyone is entitled to live a great story. It’s not really possible for everyone to live a great story, when you think about it; our economy is totally dependent upon untold millions of factory workers in developing countries who have very little time to live a great story. So I would rather see this brand go away.
Your perspective is important and needs to be said. I support the sticker, “help others.” But beyond the relative truth of entitled/narcissistic millennials, the spirit of Live A Great Story is also a call to all of us to be ourselves, to go inside and know our own voice and passions and try (as much as the political/economic system will allow) to act out of who we are in this one life that we have. Your post here is very important and is an example of you living your story. Steven Fearing
Oh my !! Think you miss the point of what this phrase means and likley have some unresolved anger issues. Just a thought.