Saturday, 26 May 2012

"State-of-the-Heart Technology": aka storytelling

The thing I like best about Twitter is the links. Links to pictures, blog posts, videos, d.i.y.s and articles. While I might be interested in your current activity (#winning), I am especially interested in being introduced to new thoughts and perspectives. Today, Donald Miller (celebrated author of Blue Like Jazz), posted a link to an article in Psychology Today entitled "The Inside Story" on why stories are so very important. The author of the article is Peter Guber who made movies such as The Rain Man. As he is MUCH more eloquent than myself, I have "borrowed" his thoughts on stories:

"They are the most effective form of human communication, more powerful than any other way of packaging information. And telling purposeful stories is certainly the most efficient means of persuasion in everyday life, the most effective way of translating ideas into action, whether you're green-lighting a $90 million film project, motivating employees to meet an important deadline, or getting your kids through a crisis. PowerPoint presentations may be powered by state-of-the-art technology. But reams of data rarely engage people to move them to action. Stories, on the other hand, are state-of-the-heart technology—they connect us to others. They provide emotional transportation, moving people to take action on your cause because they can very quickly come to psychologically identify with the characters in a narrative or share an experience—courtesy of the images evoked in the telling."

As a student (and almost teacher!) of the English Language, I have always been captivated by stories. Fact or fiction, they all contain truth for which I earnestly seek. Recently, CBC's program DNTO (Definitely NOT the Opera) explored the influence of stories as well in their podcast, "The Power of Storytelling". The hour-long show features several experts on the story from a comedienne, to a producer to a Torontonian Rabbi. Some of the pertinent points I wrote down:

stories inspire hope in the midst of adversity
stories are significant indicators of WHO we are as people
stories validate our day-to-day lives
stories are the DNA of human intelligence

Stories are powerful. When I first started blogging, I worried that all this writing about myself was far too egocentric an endeavour. But when I really started to think about it, especially in light of the role and power of storytelling, I realize this: I want to connect. I want to connect with others, to share my experiences, to share in theirs. For without the connection that comes through shared experiences, through stories, life is so meaningless. 

So I will continue to share my stories. To reflect upon all those daily little occurrences, the moments that in retrospect, are what life is made of realizing that somehow, in some way, my stories matter. Join me?

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