EP61: The Stories That Matter

Today we are going to be talking about “The Stories That Matter”.

Think about anyone that you consider to be famous. What made you decide how important they were?

Did you read about them?

Are they some movie star?

We’re you introduced to them by someone close to you; maybe a friend or family member?

Now, let’s consider you and your reputation.

Nothing is more important to your success than the stories others believe about your work, along with your personal, and community life.

It is important to think about this.

People are story-driven.

You are

I am

We all are

Pretty much everything we do is somewhat based on a story someone told us or one we have told ourselves.

These stories even create the way we [you and I] see ourselves because it helps define how the world reacts to us.

After reading a few books on the brain, and how it sees, [or better said] how it perceives our view of reality, it is clear, that the brain we use to navigate the world we live in, may just be making some of it up.

Our brains create stories to make sense of complexity, and we are bombarded daily with data and personal experiences of escalating complexity.

In other words … we are drowning in a sea of information. Our brains help us stay afloat.

Our stories help us weigh data as important (or not) as well as judge the data as good or bad according to our point of view.

This isn’t my opinion either. You’ll find this and more in a book by Annette Simmons, entitled, “Whoever tells the best story wins”.

I have been reading it, and I must admit, it does NOT suck.

In fact, I really do like it.

I highly recommend it.

And, I have not finished reading it yet, so I may be talking more about it later on as well.

Anyway, getting back to this idea of stories.

The stories that matter.

Telling stories is how we, as children, communicated with everyone else.

As a child, we were very good at telling stories. We could make belief with the best of them.

It was how we made sense of the world that surrounded us. Our parents, though loving and kind, did not have a lot of time to devote to teaching us about the world we occupied.

At least that’s how I remember my childhood. Yours may differ.

Sure, they answered questions here and there. But no one could ever have enough time to answer ALL our questions - all the time.

This is where our imagination went to work.

If we dig deep and get all scientific on the subject, it seems that well-told stories do several things.

They:

  • help ‘Transport’ us to the world of the hero.
  • are recalled up to six times better than ‘dry’ facts. And who really wants to remember dry facts when there is a juicy story that could take its place?
  • trigger chemical changes in our brains (and therefore, our behavior).
  • are processed ‘Shields Down’ (emotionally, not analytically). This means, we accept them, and remember these stories much better.

The research is constantly evolving, but scientists and psychologists believe that:

  • Story is a ‘flight simulator for the mind’, a ‘playground’ – so to speak - that allows us to learn and test key survival skills (physical, mental & social) without exposing ourselves to genuine danger. Would you rather fight a Lion, or learn how to avoid getting eaten with a true-to-life story?
  • Story connects us to our fellow humans.
  • Shared stories bound us together into cultures, countries, and tribes.
  • Stories – also commonly known as “gossip” - were a major deterrent to bad behavior in the tribe (and it still is).
  • We perceive the world – in all its complexity – as a story with us at the center.

So the point of this entire podcast episode is to help you understand that “Stories Matter”.

Your stories matter as well.

Your business will grow or shrink, based on the stories your community believes. About YOU, and your business.

Your responsibility as a business person is to define YOUR STORY and let your community hear it.

We ALL grew up listening to and telling stories.

We STILL listen [or watch] them. On TV, in movies, in the books we read, the audiobooks we listen to, and YES even on the podcasts we entertain.

But we may be a bit rusty telling stories.

Where do we find inspiration?

What is the best format?

Long stories or short stories?

ALL good questions.

I’ll do some further research and get back to you next week.

That’s it,

The end of another podcast.

I’ll see you then.

James "Telling Stories" Brown

P.S. - In the event, you DO find that once an episode has been produced and posted, that YOU really would like more information, just let me know. Use the Podcast Questions link, click on the link here. Or you can just leave a voice message here.

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