Why You Should Have a No Drama Policy

Donald Miller

I have a friend named Paul who has set up his automated email signature to read “No Drama.” At first, I thought it was an odd thing to add to every email you send out, but then I realized how much drama we unnecessarily create in life. And it doesn’t serve us, our work or our lives.

My friend is one of the world’s leading YouTube experts. Companies are always bringing him in to help them make the most of their YouTube efforts, and yet he’s always calm, always cool. He never panics, mainly because he realizes there’s so little to actually panic about.

I find I create drama, mostly, as a sideways way of playing the victim. If I perceive a situation as harder than it really is, I have all kinds of excuses to procrastinate, be rude to people, or just turn in inferior work.

On the other hand, making a bigger deal out of something than I need to could cause tension in relationships and my career. People are generally attracted to others who are calm, especially under pressure.

Self awareness is tough, but I wonder if it would benefit us to ask ourselves honestly if we’re creating more drama than that which reflects reality.

Just today I found out somebody had stolen my credit card and made some online charges. In my mind, I made a big deal out of it, having to be on hold with credit card companies, having to call my accountant and so on. And the whole event was taking away from my writing.

Instead of creating more drama, though, I remembered my friend Paul’s policy. Ultimately, the stolen card amounted to 30 minutes on the phone listening to classical music while on hold. That’s really it. Not all that dramatic, after all.

So now, I’m back to writing, feeling rather calm, calm enough to write this blog. And because I didn’t let the drama derail me, I even got this little life lesson out of the situation.

Ever caught yourself making more drama out of a situation that necessary?
If so, want to commit to a “no drama” policy with me?

-Donald Miller

Donald Miller

Donald Miller

Donald Miller has been telling his story for more than a decade, now he wants to help you tell yours. He’s helped over 1,000 companies clarify their message through the StoryBrand Workshops. For an introduction to what he’s doing now, check out the 5 Minute Marketing Makeover.

  • when my phone sent me the twitter thing with this blog, i was in the middle of a serious meltdown. and i wanted to throw my phone against the wall even just reading the title.

    but then i was writing and reflecting on how upset i got and i realized that time and time and time again, satan lures me in with the same bait. something happens and i LOSE IT. not even just in an anger way, but a DRAMA way. and i realized that it’s not enough to say “i will no longer…” or “i am going to…”

    i need a freaking BATTLE PLAN. i’m not one to over spiritualize everything or to pass off character flaws as enemy attacks, but it just seems really beneficial to the opposition to condition me and then let me destroy myself, right? it’s no work for continual return.

    anyway. it sounds to me like you mind-over-mattered your situation, but i have only barely begun to be able to do that in hindsight. do you think you’d be able to just remind yourself of it again next time and that would be sufficient action to avoiding drama?

  • I think leaders often end up in drama. They confront, they pay attention to those around them and they are not afraid to say what needs to be said. **Start the drama music**

    I think this could be misconstrued as one who enjoys drama or is always taking in the drama. I have always had a keen eye toward the drama role even as a young kid. The word drama was flipped around my home constantly and I knew to avoid the scene or being the instigator or player in a major drama.

    Yet as I became a leader in High School and college as well as my church and in my business and industry, I found myself having to enter drama after drama helping people navigate their way thru drama.

    I don’t think its healthy to avoid the dramas. Its certainly a cleaner and self productive way to go, and it helps you look like a healthier person, but I see Jesus entering drama after drama in the Gospels. He is a participant in the drama yet gives the drama no power!

    *No Drama* feels like it falls short in the ultimate goal. Drama is going to be with us all for the rest of our lives. What about drama navigation?

    Clearly your post points at self drama and controlling that, but what about controlling our own drama and choosing to enter in and help others process/navigate their own drama? You may get tagged as a drama lover, but does that matter in the big picture?

  • I’ve been thinking about this lately. It’s embarassing how often my emotions tell me the sky is falling. Then I think about people who are living without clean drinking water or in war zones where they’re never sure they’re going to survive the next day. REALLY, Lori? Take a deep breath and take the next step.